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Seroconversion is the period during which these antibodies first become detectable. So, if a person who has contracted the virus takes a test before seroconversion begins, the result will usually be negative. During seroconversion, a person may also experience flu-like symptoms, such as a fever and body aches. It can also depend on the type of HIV test that a person takes. People usually develop detectable antibodies within 3—12 weeks of contracting HIV. A person can transmit HIV before seroconversion. Even when the immune system has not yet produced detectable amounts of HIV antibodies, the virus is still active.

In the time between contracting the virus and seroconversion, most people do not know that they have HIV. If they take a test, their result will likely be negative. When the body is first producing detectable levels of HIV antibodies, people often experience symptoms similar to those of the flu or other viral infections. These symptoms can also appear during the earliest stage of HIV infection, which is called the acute stage. Symptoms usually last for around 14 days , but they can last for months.

Some people experience no symptoms during the initial stage of infection. HIV testing is crucial because it can lead to earlier detection and treatment and less risk of transmission. The only way for someone to know for sure whether they have HIV is to take a test. Some people may not be aware that they have contracted the virus, because HIV infections do not always produce symptoms. Authors of a study concluded that expanding screening criteria to include a broader range of s and symptoms, such as those listed above, may increase the amount of acute HIV infection diagnoses, which will ultimately advance prevention and treatment strategies.

The accuracy of HIV tests has improved ificantly since scientists first identified the virus. However, no test can accurately detect HIV immediately after a person contracts the virus. There are three main types of HIV test :. They can also determine how much of the virus is present, which is called the viral load.

Healthcare providers typically reserve these tests for people who have had recent high-risk exposure and who have early symptoms of HIV infection. These test for HIV antibodies and antigens. HIV produces an antigen called p24, which is present before the body starts producing HIV antibodies. These test for the presence of HIV antibodies and require a person to give a blood or oral fluid sample. This type includes most rapid, at-home HIV tests.

Antibody tests that use blood from a vein can detect HIV earlier than those that use oral fluid or blood from a finger prick. In , the U. This test kit detects antibodies and requires a sample of oral fluid, which a person collects by swabbing the inside of their mouth.

People can take the test at home, and it provides a result in 20—40 minutes. Other at-home kits require a person to prick their finger and send a small blood sample to a d laboratory for testing. These tests are anonymous, and the providers keep information and strictly confidential. If the result of any HIV test is positive, the person should take a different test to confirm the .

A healthcare provider can advise about the best follow-up test to take. Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is a daily medication that people with a very high risk of contracting HIV can take to reduce their risk. PrEP can ificantly lower the risk of infection, but it alone cannot entirely protect people from contracting the virus. Continuing PrEP in this circumstance can cause the virus to become resistant to the treatment. It is important for people who test positive for HIV to inform any current or former sexual partners. They should also discuss treatment options with their healthcare provider.

One study investigated the benefits of earlier antiretroviral treatment in 4, people with HIV. Because of the interval between contracting HIV and the start of seroconversion, a negative test result does not necessarily mean that a person does not have the virus. Anyone concerned about a recent potential exposure to HIV should have a follow-up test after the interval is over. The test provider can advise about the best time to take a second test. This treatment, known as antiretroviral therapy, typically involves taking a daily combination of three or more medications.

Taking antiretroviral therapy as the doctor instructs can reduce the viral load until it is undetectable. A person with an undetectable viral load has effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV to another person. However, there is not enough data to determine whether a person can still transmit the virus by sharing needles. In addition, experts currently recommend that mothers with HIV do not breastfeed.

Seroconversion is the period during which the body starts producing detectable levels of HIV antibodies. This usually occurs several weeks after initially contracting the virus. Anyone concerned about HIV exposure should consider taking a test. If the result is positive, the person will need to take a follow-up test for confirmation. If the result is negative, an individual may wish to schedule another HIV test, in case they had the first before seroconversion took place. Although there is no cure for HIV, effective treatments can help most people with the virus to live long, healthy lives.

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Learn more about false-positive HIV test , including why it happens, who may be at risk, and best practices for retesting after initial . What is HIV seroconversion? Medically reviewed by Deborah Weatherspoon, Ph. How long does seroconversion take? Share on Pinterest A person may develop flu-like symptoms during seroconversion.

Is HIV transmittable before seroconversion? Symptoms during seroconversion. Testing for HIV. Home testing kits. Testing positive for HIV. Share on Pinterest A person should consult a doctor if they receive a positive result. Testing negative for HIV. Treatment for HIV. Plant-based LIFE diet could relieve medication-resistant migraine. Lipid markers predict cardiovascular events 20 years before time. Is there a link between diabetes and psychiatric conditions?

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What is HIV seroconversion?