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Waiting to exhale, its been 4 months
Jun 17, 2008

So heres the sob story:

Around the first week of January, I stupidly (if thats a real word) had unprotected sex with a male I met through some friends. I would say there were about three instances of unprotected sex of which I was the top. About a week after our last encounter, he decides to inform me he is HIV positive and has been for 7 years. So for whole month of February I am going every week to a rapid testing center and getting tested for hiv, all of which (thank god) have been negative. I also took a pcr rna ultra (needs only 50 copies to register detectable) test on the 18 of the same month which came back undectable. With all this in mind here are my questions

1. I had a meningitis vaccination in february, would that, or any other type of vaccination have affected my test results?

2. My doctor, by my insistance prescribed me truvada, and I took it for about a week. Would taking truvada have any affect on seroconversion after 4 months from the incident?

3. I have had a fluctuating fever between 99.0-99.6 everyday, recourrent colds sores (possibly from stress) for the past few months, and something that appears to be either pimples or heat rash on my arm. Are these symptoms suggestive of ars or am i just overly freaked?

4. Is a negative ultra pcr rna and a negative antibody test conclusive at 4 months? I figured if the antibodies arent showing that would mean my viral load has to be high or atleast detectable, but nothing was detected.

Any correspondence would greatly be appreciated. I'm a first year college student who is pretty much flunking out because of the stress and anxiety from all this.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Once again your situation points out why we must assume that all our sex partners could be HIV positive and take all the necessary precautions to avoid potential HIV transmission. (I must have said that at least a gazillion times in this forum and yet, whenever someone finds out their Brokeback Mountain barebacking partner is indeed HIV positive, it comes as such a shock!!!)

To answer your questions:

1. Nope. Vaccinations would never cause a false-negative result.

2. Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) should be taken for a full 28 days, not "about a week." Your inadequate course of PEP would not be expected to affect your HIV-test results four months later.

3. Overly freaked. Definitely overly freaked.

4. A negative HIV-antibody test at four months would be considered conclusive. We don't recommend PCR RNA tests for routine HIV screening, due to the rate of false-positives, other technical concerns and cost.

As for flunking out of college because of stress and anxiety, there is no doubt this is the hard way to learn this very important (potentially life-saving) lesson. However, it is a lesson you must learn. It's also worth noting that at least 25% of the over-one-million HIV-positive Americans have absolutely no idea they are infected with the virus. I'm confident you'll never put yourself in this predicament again, right?

Good luck with your definitive HIV test.

Dr. Bob



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