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Is this really conclusive?
Oct 24, 2012

I had a possible exposure about 9 weeks ago; I had protected receptive anal sex, but the condom broke. The guy told me he was negative, but I have heard from other people that he is actually positive and a meth user. 3 1/2 weeks after this, I developed symptoms (low fever under 100 degrees only in the afternoon for three days, psoriasis, diarrhea for two days and nausea/loss of appetite) I have been having extreme anxiety since the onset of symptoms. I have had a DNA PCR test w/ HIV 1/O/2 antibody test at 26 days post exposure, oraquick rapid test at 5.5 weeks, and an Aptima RNA PCR Qualitative test with ICMA Antibody test from Labcorp at 7 weeks post exposure. All have come back negative. I was told the RNA test was conclusive and the ICMA is 3rd gen test, but am now hearing that the CDC does not consider the RNA test conclusive and that ICMA is a 2nd gen test. How accurate would these results be, and what would be my risk of false negatives? I am going to re-test at 12 weeks for conclusive results, but could really use some reassurance, as I'm panicking. I'm also scared of a positive or /false positive when I get the final antibody test. Would a 3rd gen rapid test at 10 weeks be conclusive? Thanks for your help.

Response from Mr. Cordova

Hi there:

You can't tell if someone has been infected with HIV based on symptoms alone. They are an unreliable way of determining whether or not an infection has occurred. Only testing can do that.

No test would be considered conclusive before 90 days. Most people will show up positive on an antibody test at 28 days. With a negative result at 5.5 weeks, my initial thought is that your 90 day test will be negative as well.

In regards to the risk itself, there was condom use for part of the time which is good. That lowered your risk. Your partner self-identified as being HIV negative, that is also good. It does not eliminate the possibility that he is lying, but it does lower it.

I would suggest a final test at the 90 day mark just to be certain. Good luck.

In health,

Richard



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