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POSSIBLE EXPOSURE, HIV-1 RNA RELIABILITY
Feb 2, 2014

hello Doctor, i am a 40 year old male who has had protected sex with sex workers on and off for over a year. i have read your past posts but was hoping you could assess my individual situation. i am concerned about hiv exposure.i shaved in my genital area and was concerned if there were razor cuts in my pubic region or area where condom may not have covered. i took qualitative rna test 28 days post last exposure which came back non reactive and rna hiv-1 not detected. i know i have to wait 90 days for conclusive but the wait is stressing me awful. also it does not test for hiv-2. i would also like to know if the rna test would be effective for exposures 5 months to a year as well. I can find no answer on that one at all. my concern is that older possible infections would not show high enough viral load. counselors and testing services say it will but they are not doctors.your insight and risk assessment is greatly valued and appreciated. thank you in advance. p.s. i have also tested for chlamydia, ghonnorhea, syphyllis and hpv. all negative. waiting to test for herpes and hep.

Response from Dr. Wohl

The HIV-1 RNA will detect that virus after about a week following infection. So, by 28 days it would certainly detect virus. However, as you write, the RNA test may not pick up HIV-2. The good news is that most HIV antibody tests (including the test in the DUO or Combo test) do detect HIV-2 antibodies.

So, if the HIV antibody test is negative at 12 weeks I would say you are negative.

DW



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