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What is HIV test and when should it be done?

Q: I had an anti-HIV antibody test from Grant Medical Foundation Ruby Hall Clinic in Pune and the test was performed 4 and 6 months after the last exposure. Both the times the result was non-reactive. My question is: 1. What does this result mean i.e. is infection there or not; 2. Is this test performed for both types of HIV i.e HIV 1 & HIV 2 or for only one type because the report does not mention this? The report says: TEST NAME RESULT ANTI-HIV ANTI BODY NON REACTIVE So what should I do or do you want me to get some other tests done or should I ask the lab for details regarding HIV 1 & 2 separately because I recently read in a book that false negative result is obtained if the test is peformed only for 1 type of HIV as the person may be infected with the other type. 3. Which is the ideal period for the test - 3 months or 6 months after exposure?

A:A non-reactive test means a negative test -- no HIV anti-bodies found. If sufficient time has elapsed since exposure this means that there is NO infection. I do not know the clinic in question but I am confident that a clinic in Pune should use the current test kits available in India. The current practice in India is to use a kit that detects both HIV 1 and HIV 2. If after 4 and 6 months of the last risk exposure the tests are negative, please stop worrying as it means that you are NOT infected. You do not need to do any more testing for that exposure. Please remember that as you have been fortunate on that occasion, you must be sure that you do not run any further risks. Either avoid all casual sex or if you can not, please be sure to use a fresh condom from start to finish. Remember that accidents do happen with condoms and they burst or tear occasionally exposing the partners to the risk of infection. In most cases where HIV infection has taken place, the usual ELISA test is positive by 3 months. Very rarely it may take a little longer for the test to show results.

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