Our Testing Methodology
We make use of an accredited laboratory which utilizes the HIV Proviral DNA test to obtain results at least 12 days after
exposure to the virus. Our doctors will recommend a testing protocol
based on your risk profile and exposure. In some cases, testing
is not indicated at all. In others, a series of multiple tests are
advised. The PCR test is an extremely sensitive test and can detect
the presence of proviral DNA even if there are only a few copies
of the proviral DNA in the blood specimen.
HIV Proviral PCR testing is not usually recommended for mass screening for HIV due to its high cost and slow turnaround time. However in certain special situations, where the patient's anxiety is extremely dysfunctional, this test may be used.
How Long Does It Take?
Specimens typically take as early as 3-4 days for a result.
Are The Results Accurate?
Testing can be done as early as
12 days after exposure, and gives close to 99.9% accuracy at least
28 days post-exposure. The PCR test result should not be taken in
isolation, and our doctor will recommend a protocol which usually
includes antibody testing subsequently at different stages post-exposure, in order to completely allay your anxiety.
Excerpt from US
Communicable Disease Centre (CDC) Website:
How long after a
possible exposure should I wait to get tested for HIV?
Most HIV tests are antibody
tests that measure the antibodies your body makes against
HIV. It can take some time for the immune system to produce
enough antibodies for the antibody test to detect, and this
time period can vary from person to person. This time period
is commonly referred to as the “window period.”
Most people will develop detectable antibodies within 2 to
8 weeks (the average is 25 days). Even so, there is a chance
that some individuals will take longer to develop detectable
antibodies. Therefore, if the initial negative HIV test was
conducted within the first 3 months after possible exposure,
repeat testing should be considered >3 months after the
exposure occurred to account for the possibility of a false-negative
result. Ninety-seven percent of persons will develop antibodies
in the first 3 months following the time of their infection.
In very rare cases, it can take up to 6 months to develop
antibodies to HIV.
Another type of test is an RNA test, which
detects the HIV virus directly. The time between HIV infection
and RNA detection is 9–11 days. These tests, which are
more costly and used less often than antibody tests, are used
in some parts of the United States.