When someone who is HIV negative becomes infected with HIV, this is called seroconversion. The HIV “window period” is the time between when a person first gets an HIV infection and when the test will show that they have it. In some cases, HIV can be detected a few weeks after infection; but in other cases, the window period can take up to three months. A person with HIV who is in the window period may test negative, but they still have the infection and can transmit it to others. If you think you have been infected with HIV, but are in the window period, you can get tested. Many people are diagnosed with HIV even if they have a test before the end of three months. Either way, it is best to be tested within a few weeks of an HIV high risk activity and if you have symptoms of HIV seroconversion:
- sore throat
- muscle pain
- swollen lymph nodes
Even if your test is negative, have a second test three months after the sex act you are concerned about.
For more information call the AIDS and Sexual Health InfoLine at 1-800-668-2437 (English and multilingual line) or 1-800-267-7432 (French line) or check out the Resources section of this site.