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Post PEP experience with PCR
Mar 10, 2013

Hi there, I asked a question earlier about being exposed via splash to the eye from a known HIV positive patient with a minute amount of blood. I went on the PEP within 12 hours and completed the drugs on Feb 16. I then had a PCR test done on Feb 25th. I just got my results yesterday and they came back negative. However, I am feeling slight feverish with a sore throat , general weakness and cold sweats. I know it can be just a common cold, but I cant help but think of the coincidence that Im feeling these symptoms after an exposure. I was just wondering, How definitive are these PCR tests, I understand there are false positives due to its high sensitivity, but what about false negatives. Also, should I be worried about these symptoms, my anxiety is probably making it worse. The Infection control nurse specialist told me I have nothing to worry about and that Im negative because these tests are very good. But these symptoms are making me nervous. I was wondering if by taking these drugs, they may have made the virus undetectable and is now causing symptoms.

Response from Dr. Young

Hi and thanks for posting.

I agree with your nurse. The PCR is highly sensitive and very reassuring. I don't think that your symptoms, therefore, are necessarily related to acute HIV infection.

Having said that, you should complete routine HIV antibody testing at 1 and 3 months following exposure, just to be sure.

Be well, BY

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