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Test at 17 weeks conclusive?
Dec 1, 2010

Dear Doc,

Had a very high risk exposure where I shared a needle with an HIV poz guy. I was quite sure there was blood in the syringe just before I used it. He later told me that he has been undetectable for 3 years. Exactly two weeks after the exposure, I had fever, sore throat, runny nose and rashes. Went for a rapid test at 17 weeks post exposure and the result came back as negative. Is the result conclusive or do I need to get retested? I know testing at 17 weeks post exposure is 99.8% accurate. Please advise . I am very depressed.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

A negative HIV-antibody test at 17 weeks is encouraging, but the CDC recommends testing out to the six-month mark (24 weeks) for a conclusive result following a very significant HIV exposure. Certainly sharing intravenous syringes with someone confirmed to be HIV positive would qualify, especially as you were "quite sure there was blood in the syringe" just before you used it. Needless to say, this was a colossal lapse in judgment! If you have a drug problem, get into a rehab program now. There's a good chance you may have dodged the HIV bullet this time, but I'd strongly advise against pressing your luck should a similar situation arise in the future.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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