What is the window period?

Ever wondered why you have to get tested again if you get tested once for HIV?

The window period is the time from when a person is infected with HIV to when an HIV test is actually able to detect the HIV antibodies in their saliva or blood. (Antibodies are something your body makes when you get a virus to help you fight it.) 

This can sometimes take 4-6 weeks or even longer, depending on the type of test that you use. During that time, an HIV test may come back negative even though HIV is already in your body. 

This means that it is important for you to tell the nurse a few things when you go get tested:

  1. When you may have been exposed to HIV, as this will help them decide when you should get tested again.
  2. How you may have been exposed to HIV (for example, by having sex without a condom).
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