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Do people automatically test positive after ARS symptoms?

Mar 6, 2003

Seven weeks ago I made a stupid decision and had unprotected insertive anal intercourse with another male whose HIV status I did not know. Three or four weeks later, I developed a body rash which looked like an allergic reaction. I had been using the nicotine patch and the rash started there but it went away a week later after taking some benadryl. Of course during this time I became completely freaked out and was riddled with worry, so earlier this week I went and had an HIV-antibody test, which came back negative. I realize that I still need to go and get tested in another month or so, but I'm wondering if a person would test positive after ARS symptoms appeared, or can someone still test negative? P.S. I'm very appreciative that this forum exists!

Response from Mr. Kull

The amount of time it takes for a person to develop a detectable level of antibodies around the time of primary infection symptoms is variable. For this reason, if a person has significant exposure (anal or vaginal sex with an HIV infected, or high risk individual), then PCR-RNA testing as well as antibody testing is recommended. Follow-up antibody testing after the window period is also recommended if those tests are negative/undetectable. PCR-RNA testing is more likely to detect infection during ARS, as antibody tests are likely to be negative during this period.

Symptoms that are possibly related to ARS should be evaluated by a medical professional.


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