Q and A


How reliable is the DUO HIV test?


The DUO test is an HIV test that looks for antibodies for HIV-1 and HIV-2 and also looks for evidence of the p24 protein which is on the surface of the HIV particle.

The advantage of testing for p24 is that this indicator of HIV infection can be detected earlier than with tests that only looked for HIV antibodies. Four weeks after exposure, the test is likely to detect 95% of actual infections. The other 5% would show positive within three months of infection.

A medical review of this accuracy of this test is included here.

This study reports that the test was 100% accurate if you get a negative result, and 94% accurate if you get a positive result. As with other types of HIV tests, a positive result need to be confirmed with a different test.

A negative result would only need to be confirmed with a second test if you were exposed less than three months ago. As with all antibody tests, the results relate to your HIV status three months before the test.

A case report of the DUO test taking more than 4 week to generate a positive result, emphasises the importance of confirming a negative result from any test used less than three months after the exposure risk, with a follow up test 3 months later.

The DUO test has no particluar advantages over other routine test when infection is unlikely to have been recent, because p24 is only detected for a short time after infection, and before HIV antibodies can be detected.


  1. Simon Collins


    Please use this link to ask a new question.

    Please note that i-Base no longer answer questions about HIV testing or HIV transmission.

  2. Rebecca McDowall

    Hi Kwaku,
    Not everybody gets symptoms and these are not a way to diagnose HIV. If you are worried about being infected with HIV please see our testing and transmission guide.

  3. kwaku

    how long does hiv symptoms start after possible exposure?

  4. Simon Collins

    i-Base no longer answer questions about HIV testing because the answers are in the online guide to HIV testing and sexual transmission. No-one can tell you online whether you have HIV or not based on this information. Please read about HIV tests and the window period for getting results.

  5. ABC

    I have unprotected sex with a woman that I paid to have sex with me and this was my once in a life time event for me. This event happened during last 2 week, I already take DUO test. I have skin rashes on my arms which are red dots. I believe I get them from mosquito bites. I’m now waiting for DUO result. I want to know am I infected or not?

  6. Rebecca McDowall

    I’m sorry that i-base no longer answer individual questions about the risks of HIV transmission or HIV testing.

    This is because information on both these subjects are now online in two resources:

    Your questions are already answered on the FAQ page:

    Also this detailed and easy to read guide:

  7. vinay

    4 weeks ago I went to sex worker and she put two condoms. Unfortunately my sperm came out from open side of the condom. Is it possible that I could be infected? Two weeks after that I have a sore throa, fever,legs pain, small white patch on swollen lymph node. I tested with Tri-dot HIV test after 10 days ans results showed negative. Do I need to take any better test than that? Could it give accurate results?