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HIV Transmission and Education >> Am I Infected?

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Anonymous
Unregistered

completely confused-help!
      #32052 - 04/15/02 11:55 AM

A few months ago I had unprotected sex and decided that I need to be tested. I came across this website and I think all the experts and people who give advice are wonderful. I've been reading this site for a few days now and am completely confused. I think its great that so many of you are very educated about the window period, the risks, the subtypes etc. Before I found this website all I knew about HIV is that it's spread by having unprotected sex, sharing needles and that there is a blood test to detect infection. I never knew there was a window period, subtypes, different test generations and so on. I guess it's true what they say that knowledge is power and ignorance is bliss.

In these past few days I have read about all the debates regarding the 3 and 6 month test. I'm completely confused by it all! According to a different post there is no test that can detect an infection and someone even stated that a test should be done at 1yr past exposure.

Different agencies told me different answers. I called the CDC and the operator told me I need to be tested at 6 months. I called the NY State dept. (they seem very popular on this board) and they told me 3 months. When should one test? No wonder there are so many people worried because apparently there are no straight answers.

Would a Elisa test be able to detect all subtypes? When is it 99.9% accurate? I'm just about at my 3 month mark now and plan to be tested but I don't want to have test and then retest because of all the conflicting info. Getting the courage to go and get tested is hard enough and I don't want to have to do it twice. Any suggestions? 3 or 6 months?



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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: completely confused-help! new
      #32060 - 04/15/02 02:10 PM

test at 3 months and believe your results



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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: completely confused-help! new
      #32061 - 04/15/02 02:23 PM

the cdc's policy IS 3 months. If you haven't tested positive by 3 months and you have not been taking PEP, engaged in any risky behaviors in the last 3 months, and do not have a compromised immune system (due to other illnesses), you do not have HIV. Believe it. People who test positive after 3 months have other reasons why this happened, and/or are not telling the whole truth about their exposures.



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worried2002.
Unregistered

Re: completely confused-help! new
      #32062 - 04/15/02 02:26 PM

I would like to help you, i'll try to provide some data.

1. Statistic data of seroconversion after the 3 months mark appear to be related to old data before the developement of the 3rd generation recombinant EIA tests.

2. CDC stance on the window period suggests testing at 3 months and again at 6 months only if there is strong medical concern or suspect of a seroconversion related illness.

3. Many governments suggest testing at 3 months as conclusive, including france, uk, some canadian states, some us states (including ny), australia, switzerland, sweden. Italy and spain still recommend 6 months. (as i am italian i would like to point out that bureaucratical changes in italy are pretty slow)

4. Many doctors including Dr. Robert James Frascino, MD; Dr. Noel Gallant M.D.; Dr. Bartlett etc believe that testing at 3 months is conclusive.

5. The odds of acquiring HIV on an unprotected one night stand are fairly low (but obviously not non-existant).

6. The developement of combined EIA and p24 antigen tests has shortened the window period by an average of 6 days. You can request one of these tests.

7. Due to its extreme sensitivity the ELISA (EIA, ELFA whatever) test with confirmatory test in case of a positive result by ultra specific western blot is still the gold standard in hiv serology, PCR-RNA tests are not useful in diagnostic purposes. PCR-DNA are still not approved for diagnostics, so the best option is still the good old elisa.

8. New elisa tests can detect most HIV-1 subtypes. I have heard that some tests have been retired because they weren't able to detect subtypes.

9. I think 3 months IS 99% accurate. 6 months is 99.9% accurate. 100% accurate simply does not exist on this earth.

10. Again, i am no phisician, take what i say "cum grano salis".

Hope this helped, hugs



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Late Converter
Unregistered

Re: completely confused-help! new
      #32065 - 04/15/02 03:30 PM

I have checked thousands of web pages etc. and finaly came to the following conclusion:

These ELSA etc. antibody tests are extremely accurate. The reason to test positive after 3 month window is inside the individual person: someones just produces antibodies later than others (slower hormonal response to the virus).

So if your body is producing the antibodies, these tests will pick them up (always, thus the HIV test are most advanced tests in the medicine).

Damn, I hate to be one of those fast progressors and develope my own antibodies after 3.5 months...



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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: completely confused-help! new
      #32098 - 04/16/02 01:00 AM

great, so since most labds including Quest use 1st generation tests, I guess were all SOL.



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