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what are the odds

Aug 27, 2011

Dr. Bob,

I have been reading alot on the subject of HIV and I believe that you are really one of the only honest people answering and speaking on the subject so I hope you have time to answer me.

I took a rapid test 6 weeks after having unprotected vaginal sex with stranger, this was the prick the end of the finger, the nurse told me at that point it would come back negative, because not enough time went by. It came back negative and she told me to go and see a doctor. I saw a doctor 2 weeks later and he ordered blood work for syphillas, gonerhea, chlamydia and HIV 1/2 Screen RFLX WB. This was 8 weeks after the unprotected incident. All of these results cam back negative.

So in reading stuff from the experts here, CDC etc. regarding timelines it seems conflicting I read most times people that are posititive will test positive in 3-6 weeks(my doctor said the same), but I also see this 3 month and 6 month?

To me something is wrong with me, I hope it is not HIV and I dont think it is all in my mind, should I go get another test? When is enough, enough?

Honest thoughts and advice appreciated.

Response from Dr. Frascino


Actually everything that you read is accurate, even though it's also somewhat confusing. The vast majority of HIVers will indeed have detectable levels of anti-HIV antibody in their blood within four-to-six weeks from the time of primary infection. However, a small minority of those infected with the virus may take a bit longer to seroconvert to HIV-antibody positive status. The published guidelines suggest a window period of up to six months for a significant HIV exposure. Newer testing assays are decreasing the duration of the HIV-diagnostic window. I've addressed this topic in a recent blog post. Check it out on The Body's blog page. Many testing sites consider a negative test at three months to be diagnostic (same sites advise six-to-eight weeks is conclusive). Your overall HIV-acquisition risk is quite low. However, if you want a definitive test result, you'll need to retest outside the seroconversion window.

Good luck. Be well.

Dr. Bob

Well, Ollie, that's another fine mess...
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