Window Period

The window period is between the time a person is actually infected with HIV and when antibodies and other protein associated with the virus can be detected in a rapid test kit. The MTS have been providing reliable, safe and affordable rapid, anonymous HIV testing using 3rd generation test kits for a long time. In an effort to improve our services, the AFA MTS has introduced the 4th generation test kits.

When Should You Test?
PeriodShould I Test?
0- 13 days after exposure/ unsafe sexTesting NOT recommended, unless several previous high risk exposures and no previous HIV testing has been done
14 days after exposureTesting can be done with 4th gen test kits,
re-testing/confirmation test recommended
4 weeks after exposureTesting can be done with either 3rd or 4th gen test kits,
re-testing/confirmation test recommended
90 days after exposureTesting can be done with 3rd gen test kits,
re-testing usually not needed

Nearly everyone who is infected with HIV (99%) will have antibodies detected by 3 months after infection. Current antibody tests are more sensitive than those used in the past. Most people will develop detectable antibodies approximately 28 days (4 weeks) after infection with HIV. However, with the introduction of the 4th generation test kits, the window period is shorten to just 14 days (3 weeks).

Immune response of HIV infection

What’s the difference between 4th and 3rd gen test kits?

Fourth-generation tests kits look for both antibodies AND antigens. While 3rd generation test kits only test for antibodies.

  • P24 Antigens are proteins on the surface of the HIV particle.
  • Antibodies are produced by the immune system in response to the HIV antigens. They fit together like a lock and key.

You are therefore able to do your HIV test at our clinic after 14 days (2 weeks) of exposure, then confirm your status once more at the 90 day (3 month) mark.


In consultation with several agencies overseas that provide similar voluntary HIV counselling and testing services, AFA has adopted the full 90 days window period. This 90 days estimate is evidence-based and reliable.

We strongly encourage the adoption of protected sex for all casual sexual exposures. For persons engaged in high-risk behaviour, we encourage annual HIV testing.


What if I am positive?

Help Is Avaliable

If you’ve just found out that you’re HIV positive, AFA’s  comprehensive range of reliable information and services can help you make sense of your diagnosis and find the support you need.

If you need to talk things through right away, we offer a Newly Diagnosed Priority Programme that gives you access to a counsellor or health promotions officer.

We also provide peer support, referrals and groups where you can share information and learn how to deal with the challenges of living with HIV.

Reactive (Positive) Result

  • Your counsellor will explain about and arrange for a confirmatory Western Blot test to be done on a future date.
  • You will be advised to abstain from sexual contact until the results from the confirmation test is ready (around 10 days). You will also be advised of your legal obligation to inform all sexual partner(s)’s about your? status and to adapt strictly safer sexual behaviour.
  • An HIV positive guide book: “A Different View Changes Your Life” for a more in depth understanding of HIV/AIDS will be provided.
  • The counsellor will request for your phone number and a name (this can be an alias) to be able to get in touch with you about the confirmation result.
  • Once the confirmation result is ready, the counsellor will provide you with assistance and counselling during the first 6 months of local treatment.
  • When you opt for local treatment, your results and particulars will still remain confidential, but no longer be anonymous. Only your doctor, counsellor and nurse will have access to this information.

Linkage to care subsidy scheme for first visits

To make it easier for you to start your journey to better health and medical management of HIV infection, AFA subsidises your first visit to Communicable Disease Centre (CDC), Singapore General Hospital (SGH), National University Hospital (NUH) and Changi General Hospital (CGH), up to a maximum of S$200. This will help to cover a major portion of the cost of laboratory tests and consultation charges on your first visit.

This subsidy scheme is only applicable for Singaporeans/Permanent Residents who are clients tested HIV positive at AFA’s Anonymous Test Services (both the ATS & MTS).

A referral letter will be issued by AFA’s Clinic Manager. You must bring this referral letter when you first register at any one of the above listed hospitals. The counter staff will make the necessary arrangements for the subsidy from AFA and your bill will have up to $200 deducted from it.

How Long More Can I Live?

In short, you will not die tomorrow, next year, or any time soon.

Hiv-timecourse

While there is no cure for HIV infection and AIDS at this time, there are medicines that can treat and manage the infections and cancers that occur with AIDS. Drugs which attack the HIV virus are also available. Advancements in treatment mean that lifespan and quality of life of persons living with HIV has dramatically improved and is on par with that of a person without HIV.

What Is HIV and What Is AIDS

HIV_Virion-en

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus that can be contracted through sexual contact with someone who has HIV.

AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. AIDS is caused by a the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV. This virus attacks the body’s immune (defence) system and, over a period of time, destroys it. This leaves the body defenceless against infections by other germs and the growth of cancers.