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Department of Health
Aug 30, 2001

The Department of Health in my state, whom I phoned yesterday, stated that a person could test negative from a 3rd generation Elisa Test for years (six or seven is what was stated) without testing positive.

Needless to say, this sent me into hysterics. My exposure was brief oral sex on a man (it stopped there)- and prior to that heavy kissing. This happened at the beginning of May and I got a sore throat three days later (after the encounter)... went to dr. was diagnosed with pharyngitis and rhinitis and was given antibiotics. Two weeks later had a sore throat for about a day and was fatigued off and on for a couple of months. Tested at 4 weeks (negative), tested at 10 weeks (negative), tested at 12 weeks (negative) and tested at 15 weeks also negative. I am extremely depressed since I found out where my lymph nodes are and found one (on the right side of my neck) to be like two peas fused together. No pain and no other swollen nodes (went to dr. and he checked them).

I guess what I'm wanting to know is I know there is a chance of doubt and everyone's body responds differently to making a large enough amount of antibodies to prove positive. But, I don't know if I can take waiting eight more weeks. And then is that enough? I appreciate all the responses and advice you have given others and maybe I read too much (so much out there on the web... you know).

How does Hepatitis factor into the testing. I'm trying to think of everything that would make me have a negative result?

Thank you for your time and any help you can provide.

Sincerely,

Depressed in the U.S.

Response from Mr. Kull

Wow! That sounds like some pretty unreliable information. As far as the CDC is concerned, the longest time it has taken a person to develop a detectable level of antibodies has been eleven months. It is extremely, extremely rare for anyone to take longer than six months to test positive on 3rd generation ELISAs; most people will develop detectable levels of antibodies in less than three months, and on an average of 25 days following exposure.

Try to stop yourself from doubting your test result. Testing at 15 weeks after a low-risk exposure like yours is sufficient. You may want to contact the Dept. of Health and speak to the person's supervisor so that incidents like yours do not happen again.

RMK



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