WHAT IS HIV?
(Human Immunodeficiency Virus)HIV is the virus, which causes AIDS. Over time it may reduce the body’s ability to fight infection by attacking key cells (known as CD4 cells) in your immune system.
WHAT IS THE HIV ANTIBODY TEST?
It is a blood test, which looks for HIV antibodies. Antibodies are produced by the body in response to an infection. If you are infected with HIV, then HIV antibodies will be present in the blood.
It can take up to 6 weeks for HIV antibodies to develop after a person has been infected (known as the ‘Window Period’)
If this is negative and more than 6 weeks has passed since the last risk (eg unprotected sex), no further testing is required and the person receives a negative HIV result.
WHAT IS AN INCONCLUSIVE HIV RESULT?
Occasionally, a result is neither positive nor negative. This is what we call an inconclusive HIV result. A person with an inconclusive result who has reported a recent high-risk exposure is regarded as being in the window period of infection, and will need another HIV test. Your healthcare provider will help you determine when this test should be taken.
For people who are in a low risk population, inconclusive HIV results are often false positive results. Factors such as pregnancy, past blood transfusions, intercurrent viral infections, or autoimmune disease may be a factor in false positive or inconclusive HIV results. Sometimes, we just don’t know the cause of an inconclusive HIV result. Everyone who has an inconclusive HIV test result will need another HIV test, and your healthcare provider will help you determine when this test should be taken.
More often than not, an inconclusive HIV result is actually later found to be HIV negative. But because an inconclusive result can also occur in very early HIV infection, that is, the blood sample was taken during the window period following a risk, everyone who has an inconclusive HIV results needs further tests.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I HAVE AN INCONCLUSIVE HIV RESULT?
If your result comes back as inconclusive, you will need to have additional blood samples, over a period of time. The doctor or nurse will tell you when you need to have these further tests.
You will have the opportunity to speak to a health professional about the result and they will provide assistance and information when you need it. We also have counselling support available who can guide you through this stressful period. Your practitioner will tell you when you need to return to the clinic to give further blood samples.
During your time waiting, if you have further questions, please call the numbers our Information and Results Line on 03 93416200
Free Call: 1800 032 017
Last Updated: 4 April 2016