Window Period? And other questions
I have a few questions,
1. Can you explain the window period, if I test myself using the biosure test 4 – 6 months or even 5 years after exposure, will the test give me an accurate result or do I have to test within the window period?
2. Can you get hiv from the test itself? Im not sure how the test works, does the test contain the hiv virus? Like for example if I completed the test and then broke it and took the testing strip out of its plastic housing and the solution from the buffer pot and testing strip got onto my hands, would I be exposed to the hiv virus?
Becky, BioSure UK Ltd
Work on 26th May 2021
Hi Worried individual 01,
1. When someone is infected with HIV, the virus enters the blood stream and the immune system will then begin to produce antibodies in response to the virus, in order to fight off infection. The majority of infected individuals experience flu-like symptoms (associated with HIV infection) around 1-3 weeks after their exposure. Also known as the seroconversion period, this is also the time that detectable levels of antibodies begin to develop. 2nd generation HIV self-tests, like ours, typically detect antibodies to HIV conclusively from 12 weeks; whereas 4th generation tests, like those performed at clinics, usually also detect the p24 antigen which means that the test can detect infection as early as 4 weeks. (read more about this here: https://i-base.info/guides/testing/what-is-the-window-period
). So say that your most recent exposure was 5 weeks ago but you have not yet developed antibodies to the virus, if you were to test at 5 weeks, there is a chance that the result may be inaccurate.
2. You cannot get HIV from using the self-test. The test strip is essentially sprayed with synthetic chemicals that represent HIV antigens. The test strip is then placed inside the test barrel. If antibodies are detected in the blood, the test line will become visible due to the reaction on the strip. If you happened to touch the test strip or anything else, it would not do anything, it is completely safe to use. The buffer solution is harmless also. There is nothing harmful within the test that could possibly cause infection.
I hope this helps.
Kindest regards, Becky