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Confused Oral Swab Test???????

Oct 6, 2012


I had a oral swab test done 9 whole years after a possible exposure. I was really scared to get tested but decided to do so finally. The test cam back negative but now I am worried because the lady that administered the test told me the the Oral test was only a preliminary test and that I needed a blood test to confirm that I was negative because there is a chance that I could still be infected (WHAT!!!!!). I couldn't believe this, if that was the case, why didn't you all just give a blood test I thought. Another thing that scared me was the lady had me swab my gums differently than how I have read that you are to supposed to swab your gums. Now I'm in panic mode because I am having these thoughts that maybe the sample was contaminated because she had me swab to much. I don't know if while I was swabbing around my gum; if the swab accidentally touched me teeth or not. I am just confused at this point. I don't understand if you still need a blood test even though you test outside the window period....then why use this test at all. I am angry because I feel like after going through so much stress for so long and finally getting up the nerve to get tested that is may have been all in vain and now I may have to go through more stress waiting on a BLOOD TEST!. I hope that you can answer my questions and I can get some clarity out of this.

1. How accurate is the Oral Swab test? 2. If the sample was contaminated in anyway, will this cause a false negative? 3. If the swab did accidentally hit my teeth while swabbing, will this affect the test. 4. Was the counselor right that even though I tested outside of the window period, I still have to have a blood test because I still may be infected? Or is she misinformed? 5. If the test is not that accurate, why are health care facilities allowed to use the test in the first place?

I am sorry that I have asked so many questions, I am just really scared now. I thought that after I took this test I would feel a lot better...but now I just feel worst and wish that I never took that test in the first place it has caused me more stress than I needed. Thank you

Response from Ms. Southall

Hi 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.

When results of any HIV testing comes back positive we call it preliminary positive as then there should be more blood drawn to run western blot and Elisa test that confirm and give a viral load and a CD4 count.

The testing has changed over the years both in sensitivity as well as how it is run. The oral test is just as accurate as a blood test there are controls that ensure that testing is done correctly.

Hope this gives you peace of mind regarding the outcome of your test.

Be well and stay safe, Shannon

Amount of Virus
should i be concerned

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