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Hello Doc,

it is said that a realistic "Window Period" is 3 months. Can the amount of HIV virus that enters the body at the time of infection change the length of this window period. What if a very minute amount of virus enters the body. it would seem that it would take a longer amount of time for the virus to make enough copies for the bodies immune system to start developing antibodies. how many copies of the virus would be present at lets say 2 months?

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replied April 7th, 2011
HIV and AIDS Answer A21690
Hello and thank you for posting your medical question on E health forum.

The dose of virions at the time of infection does not change the window period, but it changes the rate at which the disease can progress.

HIV when enters the body, it infects the macrophages in the tissues and replicates in them. Once the macrophages present the virus antigens to the immune cells antibodies are produced by lymphocytes.

The window period is the period for the antibodies to be produced and be detected in the blood. This period is about 22 days (For testing with antibody assay tests).

When HIV virions are lysed by immune cells the HIV antigens and HIV nucleic acid are released and they can be detected with the P24 antigen testing - by upto 16 days and the HIV PCR test by 12 days respectively.

I hope this helps.

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