Is Rapid testing at 6 weeks conclusive ?

Originally Posted: 
Saturday, September 8, 2012



I had unprotected vaginal sex, 6 weeks after that exposure I went to a local clinic and had a rapid HIV test done. I tested negative for HIV, how reliable is this result? I'm going to get retested, I'm really nervous that it might be positive.





Hi There,

Thank you for using the AIDS Vancouver as your resource for HIV related questions.

While unprotected vaginal sex is considered 'high risk', testing is the only way to know of transmission.  The rapid test you took has a window period of 4 weeks to 3 months, with 95% of infections detected at 4-6 weeks.  If you feel that this 95% is not enough to help with your anxiety, a second antibody test at 3 months will be considered conclusive.

Hope this helps


AIDS Vancouver Helpline Volunteer
Phone (Mon-Fri 9-4pm): (604) 696-4666


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on


I've been reading a lot of articles from different sources about the different HIV tests that are offered to the public. I'm still not sure about the different window periods that exist for the different tests. I was recently tested at 6 weeks following a high risk exposure. The test was a rapid test. I tested negative but the nurse said only 4th generation antigen tests can tell you a conclusive result at 6 weeks. She instructed me to get tested at 12 weeks as well. I will get tested at 12 weeks, but what are the chances that my current negative status will change to positive. Is 6 weeks a good indicator of my status ?

Helpline1's picture
Submitted by Helpline1 on

Hi there,

Thank you for using the AIDS Vancouver online helpline as your source of HIV/AIDS related information.

A rapid test done at 6 weeks is a very good indicator of your status, since as Jaz said, it can detect 95% of infections within 4-6 weeks. The nurse is correct  that only the 4th generation tests are considered conclusive by HIV specialists at 6 weeks. This is because the 4th generation, or DUO test, looks for both antigens and antibodies. The rapid test looks only for antibodies, and the body takes longer to produce HIV antibodies than it does antigens. However most people produce antibodies by 21-25 days of acquiring HIV, so if you had contracted HIV from that encounter your body would likely have already begun producing the antibodies.

Your test results are not quite conclusive (at test done at 12 weeks will be), but they are still a very good indicator of your status. It would be very, very surprising if you tested positive after testing negative at 6 weeks.

In Health,
AIDS Vancouver Helpline Volunteer
Phone (Mon-Fri 9am-4pm): (604) 696-4666

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on


I am a 29 year old male and I had sex with a sex worker two days ago. After taking out my penis from her vagina I found that the condom had slipped halfway. also i had kissed a region close to the vagina and might have touched her vagina with my lips. Is any of these considered unprotected sex. Am I at risk of contracting any STDs?

Helpline1's picture
Submitted by Helpline1 on

Hello and thank you for using the AIDS Vancouver Helpline as your source of HIV/AIDS related information.

Before addressing your concerns, I just would like to mention that the risk of acquiring HIV is not based on who you engage sexual activity with (age, gender, ethnicity, occupation, sexual preferences, etc), but rather what you do (unprotected anal/vaginal intercourse or sharing needles) pose a high risk of HIV transmission.
In other words, people are not at risk, but activities are.
It is great to hear that you practiced safer sex as it is still the best prevention tool for majority of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Was top of your penis (urethra) covered with condom when you pulled out?
If so, there is low risk of acquiring HIV.
The virus enter from urethra in the penis, but because (if) it was covered, the condom acted as barriers; there is no way the virus can go through latex or polyurethane, no way no how.  
Also the skin is a perfect barriers as well. Unless there is a deep actively bleeding cut on your penis in which it was not covered with condom, the virus has no direct access to the bloodstream.
Kissing the area close to vagina or giving oral sex are also low risk of HIV transmission. There is an enzyme in saliva actually inhibit the virus from entering the bloodstream. 
There are more than 30 STIs out there.
Fortunately HIV is harder to acquire unlike other STIs, such as Chlamydia and Gonorrhea which are very common and easier to transmit though oral sex and intercourse.
Also herpes and HPV/genital warts can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact.
It may be good idea to get tested for STIs, including HIV regardless of the activities you engaged as we recommend all the people who are sexually active to get tested for STIs regularly to know your status, and to protect yourself and your partners. It could be every 3 months, bi annually or  annually depending on individuals.
You may wish to get tested right away but it would not give you an accurate enough result for STIs.
It may be good idea to wait at least 3-4 weeks as an incubation period for Chlamydia is often weeks or months which is longer than Gonorrhea.
Hopefully you find the information helpful.
If you have any other questions/concerns, please feel free to call/email us.
Stay healthy and keep smiling
AIDS Vancouver Helpline Volunteer
Phone (M-F 9am-4pm PT): (604)696-4666

Submitted by kyle (not verified) on

Hi I'm a bit worried I've googled almost everything I can think of and spoken to doctors. 2 months ago I had unprotected sex with a man I was the receiver. he assured me he was fine. but after 3 weeks I was stressing I had a blocked noise for 2-3 days and that's all I had no fever or anything. I had a blood test at 2 weeks and 6 weeks I also asked him and he had a test at 6 weeks all negative but. I'll have another test at 3 months. also a good friend also caught my noise thing I was wondering if ars was contagious or this was a sign. should I relax? thank you:) please help.

Helpline1's picture
Submitted by Helpline1 on

Hi Kyle and thanks for using the AIDS Vancouver Online Helpline as a source for HIV/AIDS related information.

First of all, a blocked nose is not a symptom of HIV infection.  Additionally, Acute Retroviral Syndrome (ARS) is not an illness that can be passed.  A syndrome cannot be passed to another person.

Your HIV tests at 2 weeks and 6 weeks are a very good indicator that you do not have HIV.  However, for conclusive results, you are doing the right thing by being retested at 3 months.

I trust I have addressed your concerns however, should you have further concerns, feel free to contact us again.

In good health,
AIDS Vancouver Helpline Volunteer

Submitted by Dylan (not verified) on

Thank you so much for answering.
I'm still a little anxious though, I know my chances are low but I'm still getting myself worked up. I was wondering even though the guy I sleep with tested negative at 6 weeks as did I, would that be considered conclusive enough? or what would be the chances of both tests changing?
thanks again, sorry if I'm asking the same questions but thanks anyway.

helpline2's picture
Submitted by helpline2 on


Hi there,

Anxiety surrounding test results and HIV status is very common. Negative results at six weeks is a great indicator of your status, and if both you and your partner have tested negative for HIV, it would not be possible for HIV to be passed between you. At AIDS Vancouver, we have never heard of a negative result obtained at six weeks changing to positive at twelve weeks.

I hope this is able to ease some of your worry – please let us know if you have any further questions.

Best wishes,
AIDS Vancouver Helpline Volunteer

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