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fearful in BIG D
Nov 27, 2003

Dr. Bob,

I had a POSSIBLE HIV exposure roughly 30 days ago. I went to get tested at the 25 day mark, the test was negative. The girl I was with provided me with a copy of her lab work which was also non-reactive. I am concerned because her lab had a disclaimer below the result, stating that the sample drawn was negative but doesn't preclude previous exposure or infection with HIV1. Is it uncommon for labs to place waivers or disclaimers on lab work? It also had a waiver regarding her HSV test. The last month I have been fatigued, a flu, and now swollen lymph nodes in my armpits. I am very concerned about getting retested, and is it possible for someone HIV+ to have a lab which is non-reactive? Thanks for you help.

Mike

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Mike,

Yes, the disclaimers and waivers are standard.

Is it possible for someone to be HIV+ and have a nonreactive test? Yes, it is. That's why they have the disclaimer statement.

Here's how it works. When someone contracts HIV disease, it takes the body a while to react and produce anti-HIV antibodies. Many HIV tests depend on these antibodies. That's why we tell folks to wait at least three months before getting their HIV antibody test to assure their results are accurate and definitive. The period between getting infected and producing anti-HIV antibodies (and consequently a positive HIV test) is called the "window period." Hope that clarifies things for you, Mike.

Dr. Bob



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