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Dec 10, 2006
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I would like to start with a question that I have not seen answered in the forum archives: Can one assume that at 4 - 5 months after a possible exposure that either antibodies have to be present OR a viral load must be present (high enough for detection by sensitive PCR RNA)?
Here is my case: I had a possible exposure in Asia where CRF01_AE is the common subtype. Within a few days I started having several night sweats every night (damp pillow) and these continue to today. A week after the incident many weird symptoms began such as rapid heart beat, chest pain, lump in throat. I was concerned and at 128 days had Labcorp do HIV-1 ab test that was negative. I thought perhaps my problems were due to anxiety and after a negative test the symptoms would go away. However I developed additional symptoms which included burning mouth, blocked mucous ducts in mouth (per dentist), inflamed tongue, painful and hard lymph nodes, sore neck. All symptoms continued and at month 5 decided to have an HIV-1 PCR RNA test to try and settle the issue once and for all. Low range was 50 copies/ml and result was non-detected.
Some other questions please: Considering the exposure was probably to CRF01_AE subtype can there be a problem with PCR RNA or a/b testing? Can I be 100% assured the lab results are final and I am negative?
Response from Dr. Frascino
First off, symptoms "within a few days" of "possible exposure" would not be due to HIV (CRFOI_AE or any other type!)!
Next, all you needed was an HIV-antibody test three months or more after your Asia fling for a definitive result.
Regarding HIV-1 PCR DNA, these tests are not recommended for routine HIV screening, due to the rate of false-positives, other technical considerations and cost. Therefore, I cannot comment on your initial question, because the test is not used for that purpose (routine screening). What I can tell you is that HIV is not your problem. No way. No how.
I can also tell you your original impression "I thought perhaps my problems were due to anxiety . . ." were right on target! That ". . . after a negative test the symptoms would go away" is excellent proof of that!
Thanks for your donation. Now stop worrying and start WOO-HOOing!
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