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CONFUSED
Jan 14, 2007

hello!i am a 22y.o. guy from greece!i have read so many things that made me confused.i have just heard that one of my sex-partners with whom i had an accident....the condom broke and i had my penis in the arse for not more than 3-4 seconds) is hiv+.I am a blood donor.I made a blood donation 35 days after i came in contact with the person refered as hiv+.After these 35days could the ELISA method (which is used by hospitals here in greece) track hiv antibodies or no?In the goverment aids related internet site writes that the ELISA method being used by our hospitals tracks hiv antibodies 22days after infection.Well some hospitals use the NAT(molecular) method.How many days are needed for that test to show up results?Is it true that for the ELISA method only 22days are needed?I have read so many possibilities such as it takes from 22days to 2months that have to pass in order to detect hiv and i am really freaking out.I would really like your help.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

This is indeed a confusing situation! First, regarding ELISA, the vast majority of HIV-positive folks will develop detectable levels of anti-HIV antibodies within four to six weeks. However, "vast majority" is not "all." Consequently, the current recommendation is three months. ELISA tests taken prior to three months are not considered to be definitive or conclusive. NAT is somewhat better at picking up HIV infection earlier than ELISA; however, it, like PCR tests, produces a significant number of false-positive test results.

What should you do? I suggest you contact the blood bank and advise them of your risk and the time frame of your exposure and blood donation. I would then advise you to get an ELISA test at the three-month mark. If negative, the CDC would recommend a follow-up test at six months to reconfirm your negative status.

Your actual HIV risk is low, but certainly not nonexistent. The estimated per-act risk for acquiring HIV from unprotected (or broken condom) insertive anal sex with an HIV-positive partner is 6.5 per 10,000 exposures. Your risk is less, as your exposure was very brief.

Good luck!

Dr. Bob



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