Are you worried that you might have contracted HIV from your last sex partner? Do you feel anything weird or notice something strange manifesting on your body? Do you want to be certain that you are really infected or not?
The best way to know if you have been infected with HIV, or the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is to get an HIV test. There are different ways to test for HIV, so you, as a patient, has several options, depending on your condition.
When getting an HIV test, there is such a thing as a window period. The virus is usually not that easy to detect if the infection is still in its early stage. So, the HIV window period is set at between 9 days and 6 months. If you get an HIV test during this time span, you may get a negative test result even if you are indeed infected, so wait for the window period to lapse.
The following are examples of HIV testing methods and their window periods:
Antigen tests or RNA tests
- this is a type of HIV testing method that is a bit expensive. It should be conducted between one and three weeks since initial exposure to the virus so as to have enough amounts of viral material for the test to accurately diagnose.
- this looks for the HIV antibodies released by the immune system. It is best done after about two to eight weeks since start of infection to have sufficient antibodies available.
Polymerase chain reaction tests or PCR tests
- this is used to test the viral load of HIV patients. It is best implemented after two to three weeks since exposure to the virus to yield accurate test results.