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Worried after getting test results

Sep 6, 2012

Hello. Here's the thing... Since I was so anxious and feeling guilty about a minimal to no risk exposure (had massage by sex worker and she masturbated me, that was it)... Which Dr. Hook said was zero risk and no need to test, I anyway went to test because I couldn't concentrate on my studies, or anything else for that matter and was harming myself mentally and physically by drinking/smoking too much, not sleeping well, constantly worrying etc. The thing is, just after getting my results (got a 4th generation Antigen/antibody test) after one month post (zero risk exposure according to Dr Hook)...(I believe if it hadn't been a sex worker maybe I wouldn't have worried that much) but the truth is I do have a phobia, sometimes even irrational to HIV. So when I went to get my results, the results came out in a different manner, because it was a diffferent lab, first time I go there. My results say literally : after my name, date and all that: First column: Test conducted: HIV Antigen/Antibody Second column: Current result NEGATIVE. This freaked me out a bit, because although I was expecting negative...why not only put result?! Third column: Reference value: Positive: >= 1.00 ; Grey zone: 0.90-0.99; Negative: <0.90 Fourth column: units: nothing there, that section is blank... Maybe your actual units are only put when the test comes out positive or they just don't put your actual values in order not to scare/ confuse worried anxious people like me.

My questions are: 1) I suppose negative is negative and shouldn't care or be concerned with anything else the paper says. But That's the only thing I wanted to see... not the referential values.... This got me anxious and thinking what might my values be, maybe they are close and will get closeras time passes, etc. (Dr.Hook told me no need to test, zero risk, but if I decided to do so 1 month it would be conclusive) 2) What do this figures mean...what exactly do those numbers represent? is it the same ranges with all combo tests and does that stand for the antibodies, antigen or both? And what is that measure of? AB's? AG's? Howcome most people have some number and not actually zero? I just don't get this, what do those numbers represent or measure? amount of virus, antibodies or is it just the way the test works.... I really don't understand. Also why would they put this info regarding ranges when I only wanted to know my status (NEG or POZ)-however they didn't print MY actual figures, just the measures they use. What do those figures represent? more that 1.00 what? milimiters? % of something? virus? proteins? antigen? antibodies? what? Or is it just a scale of sensitivity/specificity of the test or something like that? The space for my figures was left blank. 3) Why would they put "current" result and not just result? (It is obvious that it is current for theday the test was taken). Could it be possible that they think it will/might change or is it just the standard format for these tests inthe lab? 4) Do you think all results to negative people come up like this in this lab? It's the first time I go there so am not that familiar with their approach/policies/way they handle and submit test reports. 5) Should I just consider it is negative and just forget about everything else? Maybe if someone asked me I'd tell them you're negative, you should be happy. I can give great advice to other people but when it comes to me I really lose my mind at times, and I'mgoing through a drak stage of my life so I guess it is just a viscious circle. Maybe I'll go to the lab tomorrow(In a hurry as always cause I'm so stressed with studies) and have a doctor tell me face to face what I think I already know, showing him the results paper. 6) This lab has a service where they come to your home and take you the test there if you want, then take the sample to process it. Is it as good as going to the lab yourself? By the way this is a well known lab, in the top 5 of my country but it is the first time I go there. Some things I like about them, some things not very much (they are very strict about their policies,especially regarding confidentiallity. But they offer a good, professional service and a reliable test. Maybe it is not the most hyped or expensive lab around but it sure is one of the best. And the only ones who clearly state on the paper "4th generation AG/AB test. Others don't specify much, although claiming they are all 4th generation and also look for antigen as well as antibodies...There's no need to keep askingthe receptionist who most of the time knows squat and could tell you anything really. So I always rather to read it myself on paper and this is why I chose this lab. Would you recommend sticking with it or maybe having my next test in around 12 days at adifferent lab? This is the first time a negative result gets me even more paranoid! I know it can sound insane but for sure I don't feel sane right now.

Sorry for the long post, I know it may sound stupid but I'm really feeling outside of reality. They should just put a freaking Positive or negative,why bother me with more data I don't need or want to know? I Also I think if you test positive a doctor himself hands you the results (especially in this lab where they are somewhat uptight and not casual at all regarding HIV tests as in others) and talks with you about it and they don't just give them out just like that in those cases. Sorry for the long post, If you don't know about the "technical" questions it's ok, all answers/feedback/reassurance/advice is much appreciated and welcome. I urgently need to believe my negative result but can't stop overthinking. At least they didn't print my actual personal value units or I would be overthinking it much worse and idealizating possible scenarios.

I really need to get myself together urgently. Please help with this, I need reassurance, although I know it may sound absurd. I'm a worrier and anxious person but this is not the first time I get an HIV test, however it is the first time a negative result freaks me more than before I got it! I plan to get another test in around 10 days-2 weeks...Suppose and hope the result will be exactly the same and that it is just a new format this lab uses in their results that I haven't seen before or got used to.

Thanks again for reading and hope some of you answer.


Response from Ms. Southall


You are really over analyzing this to put it simply. The test is negative. Every testing site has different ways of reporting the result depending on the type of test that they run. But the end result is that your test is negative.

The guidelines for HIV testing are to be initially tested at 3 weeks then again at 3 months, if both of these tests are negative then so are you, as long as there were no other types of exposure during that 3 month period, if so then the timing starts over again.

Hope this helps,

Be well and stay safe, Shannon

I will get tested, but what are my chances?
Hello doctor will you come to...

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