If you’re sexually active and not in an exclusive partnership with a person you know is HIV-negative, it’s recommended to test preventively at least every six months; the spread of HIV could be largely prevented if every sexually active individual with multiple partners would do this.
It’s also highly advised to get tested after any suspected risky sexual contact (unprotected intercourse with a new partner or multiple partners, suspicions or knowledge of unprotected infidelity, or unprotected sexual assault) or after sharing a needle with someone when administering drugs intravenously.
But how soon can HIV be detected in the system and when to test for HIV? Depending on the testing method and the immune system of the infected individual, HIV antibodies can be reliably detected after around 3 weeks to 3 months. This time is referred to as the “window period,” and during it the virus develops in sufficient levels needed for the test to detect it reliably.
For this reason, the results of any at-home HIV test performed before the 3 week mark cannot be considered reliable (latest generation antigen lab tests may be able to detect the virus sooner), and negative results obtained between 3 weeks and 3 months need to be verified by retesting after the 3 month mark.
If you suspect you may have been exposed to HIV or wish to perform a routine check, order a rapid at-home HIV test now and know your results tomorrow — shipping takes under 24h for most European countries.Order now