HIV testing

Last reviewed 01/2018

HIV infection is diagnosed and screened for with the use of antibody testing.

Performing this test requires consent and careful counselling of the patient. Confidentiality of the result will also be important and may vary according to whether the test is performed by a general practitioner or at a genito-urinary clinic.

The test should be performed 3 to 6 months after a patient has been exposed to a possible HIV infection risk. This allows for seroconversion which usually occurs within 2 months (but may take as long as 12 weeks) of exposure (“window period”) (1).

Any positive tests need repeating