How Long Should You Wait to Get an HIV Test?

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Ask the experts

How long after you think you may have been infected with HIV do you need to wait to be tested?

Doctor's response

After exposure to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), if one becomes infected, antigen will become detectable starting at about two weeks. Antibodies to various HIV antigens do not start being detectable until 1 to 3 months following exposure, but sometimes this takes even longer.

Recommendations for testing vary, but probably the most reasonable course of testing is to test for HIV antibodies at 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year.

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Reviewed on 1/11/2018