Tuesday, 9 May 2017

ASK THE DOCTOR - What is the HIV Window Period?

How important it is to get an HIV test done before marriage? What is window period?
- Anindita

ASK THE DOCTOR - What is the HIV Window Period?

People are fast becoming aware of HIV testing before marriage. However, the majority still does not know about the ‘window period’. If a person is infected with HIV, then the blood test (Elisa test for HIV antibodies) comes positive only after around three months. The initial period of three months, when the test is negative is known as the ‘Window Period’. This is a dangerous period, as it gives the false impression that a person is HIV negative, and the infected person can give the infection to others through unprotected sex. I strongly recommend two HIV tests with a gap of three months before marriage.

Besides HIV, it is also necessary to test for one more fatal disease that is transmitted sexually — Hepatitis-B. A carrier of Hepatitis-B appears healthy outwardly but could transmit the deadly disease to the partner through sexual contact. Syphilis, though fully treatable, is a dangerous sexually transmitted disease if undetected. It is particularly notorious as it plays hide-n-seek with the patient giving him/her false signals of self-recovery, while it is progressing in the body. Thus a ‘VDRL test’ or ‘TPHA test’ for syphilis is a must in all the check-ups before marriage.

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