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Nurse Susan
Nurse Susan, Nurse (RN)
Category: Health
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Experience:  RN, BSN, MSN-ED, Nurse Educator whose passion is helping people understand their health and wellness
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What is the best/most accurate way to check HIV status? There

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What is the best/most accurate way to check HIV status? There are two clinics nearby that check - one does a finger prick and tells you right away what the result is. The other is the county health office, and they take blood and send it off and tell you in a few weeks. We just want to do what is the best, XXXXX XXXXX way to test. Thanks.
Hello JACustomer,

The finger prick test is very sensitive, but not very specific. That means that it will almost always tell you if you have a virus, but it is not so good at saying if the virus there is the HIV virus. If the finger prick test is positive, it is then followed up with the formal blood testing. Were I you, I would go with the formal blood testing.

However, a factor to consider is why you wish to be tested. If you had a possible HIV exposure and now want to know if you are HIV positive, it is possible to get a false negative result if you test too soon after the exposure. It takes a while between the time of exposure and the time where a test will show a positive result. This is called the window period...the window period for HIV can be about three months long. That is why it is recomended that someone be tested at the time of exposure to see if they had HIV before hand, then at three months, and three months after that....but if you are negative after the first three month test, its almost certain you will be negative. It is very rare for HIV to take longer than three months to seroconvert (but it has happened).

I hope this helps,
Nurse Susan and 5 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX well explained response!
Hello JACustomer,

Thank you so much for your kind words. The system did not let me know I had a lovely message from you, so my apologies in the delay of my appreciation.

Best of luck,