Feb 8, 2007
I was tested for HIV at the end of December and then again the second week of January 2007. It came back negative the first time and then positive the second time. How can this be? I went to get a second test because my partner tested postive.
Also, I need advise on my next steps since being recently diagnosed with HIV. I am scared and confused on what to do. Are the meds expensive? Thanks for your help.
Response from Dr. Young
Hello and thanks for your post.
I'm sorry to hear about your recent diagnosis. Tests take time to turn positive-- that's why a single test shouldn't be considered proof of the absence of HIV. A negative test means that the body hasn't produced a mature immune response to the virus; sometimes this can take several months after exposure to occur.
If you have doubt about the validity of the "second" test, I'd have the test repeated to be sure. Indeed, to answer this question and to begin the "next steps", a HIV viral load would provide independent confirmation and help in establishing important baseline information.
Your next steps would include identifying and seeing an experienced HIV treater-- medications may or may not be indicated at this time, though some patients and treaters will elect to start treatment in patients who are very recently infected (as you appear to be). Spend some time to take stock on your health (both physical and mental), find support groups and friends who you can lean on in this often-difficult period. Medications can be very expensive if you don't have insurance, but there are numbers of programs to decrease the impact of the cost (including insurance and patient assistance programs).
Mostly, know that persons recently infected with HIV in the developed world (who have access to medical care and when needed, HIV medications) have every potential to live very long and healthy lives.
Best of health to you. BY
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