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Still testing negative but really concerned
Oct 16, 2011

Dear Doctor,

I really need your help. I have search the forum and haven't found any posts related to what I am going to ask you. I had unprotected sex with my boyfriend in June 2011. I was the top and he was the receptive partner. He found out three days afterwards that he was HIV positive because he took had labs done for his job. We used to have oral sex where we would do stuff like cum swapping. This was the first time we actually had anal sex. I was tested six weeks after exposure (rapid test) which came back negative. I retested again two months after exposure (a rapid test and Elisa test) which both came back negative. Three months after exposure I retested again (rapid) test and the result was still negative. Now I am desperately confused as I was expecting my results to be sadly positive.

I have been experiencing arm pit pain off and on, pain on the side of my neck on both sides, as well some discomfort in my groin area. From what I have been reading that can be my lymph glands telling me something is wrong. From your knowledge do you think I am positive even though I am testing negative because the virus hasn't had time to be detectable? My other question to you is how long after exposure you can actually past on the virus on to someone else? What is the possibility of top to bottom infection?

Please help me with whatever advice you can provide.

All the way from Trinidad and Tobago. Thanks much.

Response from Dr. Fawcett

I'm sorry to hear that your boyfriend tested positive. It's a good sign that your tests continue to come back negative, although in cases where a partner is known to be positive you should tested be a final time six months after exposure. That will be definitive.

You need to consult with your healthcare provider about your physical complaints. You are probably experiencing anxiety, which can cause a variety of frightening and painful symptoms, but he or she can run other lab tests which can help better determine what is going on.

Newly infected people can spread the virus very soon after infection. Unprotected anal sex with an HIV-positive top is one of the highest risk behaviors, although there is still a risk of infection with a positive bottom, and even with oral sex (although considerably less). Because of your boyfriend's known status you need to use condoms.

-Take care, David



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