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Scared and worried about HIV infection
Mar 21, 2008

I had unprotected anal sex with a HIV positive person. I was the insertive partner.

I was tested at 12 weeks and re-tested at 16 weeks on a HIV antibody/antigen test. both tests were negative. I am highly worried that i have HIV and have not produced antibodies. what i would like to know is this....Can you have HIV and not have antibodies produced? what factors would stop you from producing antibodies. I know these questions have probably been asked millions of times but i just was my post posted and answered so i can feel better. P.S i am in Australia and the doctors told me that 3 months is conclusive.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Unprotected sex does place you at some degree of risk for STDs, including HIV. Hopefully you've learned a valuable lesson from this entire experience: unprotected sex isn't worth the worry and the risk!

Regarding HIV-screening tests, the vast majority of those infected with HIV will have detectable levels of anti-HIV antibody in their blood within four-six weeks. For significant confirmed HIV exposures (partner documented to be HIV positive), the current U.S. guidelines recommend testing at the three-month mark and, if negative, repeating the test at six months for a conclusive and definitive result. I know that Australia and several other locales have issued guidelines with shorter window periods. This is due primarily to the availability of new testing assays that allow detection of anti-HIV antibodies somewhat earlier, thereby shortening the window period.

Is it possible to be HIV positive, but still test HIV-antibody negative? Yes, this would be a "false negative" test result. Causes for false-negative HIV tests include testing during the window period (the time before seroconversion), agammaglobulinemia, Type N or O strains, HIV-2 and technical or clerical errors. Overall, causes of false-negative HIV tests are exceedingly rare. Are your week-12 and week-16 negative HIV tests false-negatives? Nope! I suggest you stop worrying and start WOO-HOOing. If you want the U.S. guidelines level of certainty, you can repeat your HIV-antibody test at the six-month mark.

Be well. Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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