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HIV TEST AFTER 5 MONTH EXPOSURE
May 25, 2009

I'm a young male and my fiance just told me she's HIV (+) and that she was diagnosed 6 months ago with a low viral load .

We've been having unprotected sex (and oral sex) for 5 months straight. And after she told me that, I immediately ended our relationship and went and got tested this month (rapid result blood test) and my results were negative.

The doctor told me the rapid result test would indicate my exposure from 3 months back. And that I should come back in 3 more months.

Should I be worried ? Is it possible that I'm hiv (+) with an undetectable load to the 20 min rapid blood hiv tester ??? Please help .....sincerely...worried john.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello John,

Your fiancée didn't tell you she was HIV positive and you've been having unprotected sex for five months? YIKES! At least you found out before walking down the aisle and saying I do!

That your HIV rapid test is negative is encouraging but not conclusive or definitive. You will need follow-up HIV-antibody tests at the three- and six-month marks from the date of your last possible exposure to confirm your status is indeed negative. (The reason for the six-month test is your significant exposure to someone confirmed to be HIV infected.)

I should also mention your understanding of the HIV rapid test is wrong. ELISA, EIA and rapid tests screen for anti-HIV antibodies, which are proteins made by your immune system in response to HIV infection. This has nothing to do with HIV plasma viral load testing. Viral load testing (PCR) assays for a piece of the virus's genetic material. You can read much more about HIV tests in the archives of this forum.

Good luck John.

Dr. Bob



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