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HIV Transmission and Education >> Am I Infected?

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Anonymous
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Lab Supervisor's advice.
      #94564 - 04/07/04 01:34 AM

I have been very upset and scared that I have HIV from unprotected sex with a female. I have seen several doctors and have had or do have several symptoms. I spoke to a lab technition and a supervisor today regarding the tests used and I was told this... The Elisa test is so sensative that they have a 3% false positive rate. All positive tests are checked by a western blot and a P24 antigen test. Only then is a positive result given. Also I was informed that the test is over 95% acurate by 6 weeks. I asked if she thought the CDC was being conservative in the 13 week rule and she said, "4-6 weeks is all that is needed." She did also point out that she see's about 50 tests per day and most people do not know the actual date of exposure of course making it difficult to quantify a 6 week statement. However she is fully trained on what the test is capable of and this is detecting HIV antibodies within 6 weeks. I have heard that blood is deluted before it is tested and she said, that was untrue and full serum is used. Anyway although I will get my 13 week test I wanted to pass this along.

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Anonymous
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Re: Lab Supervisor's advice. new
      #94593 - 04/07/04 08:44 AM

What Lab and State did your information come from? I tested negative at 9 weeks, but my lab wasn't so forthcoming about future results.

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Anonymous
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Re: Lab Supervisor's advice. new
      #94596 - 04/07/04 11:37 AM

This was in Vancouver B.C. and believe me there is a huge problem with HIV from the major problem of IV drug users.
I, nor she was suggesting 6 weeks is conclusive for every single person as we are learning all situations are different and our bodies react differently to virus. But when I asked her point blank is 3 months when I should test she said, "4-6 weeks is when it shows up" I think the real problem with the window period is the majority of people don't know the exposure date and guess. I have not read a post from a positive person that has said they could be sure of the exact date and then start tests every week to determine which week in fact they produced antibodies. Common sense tells us that most people test because they feel they were at risk at some point in life. Which exposure could it have been? The best more acurate indicators are occupational exposures like a needlstick because they are documented so well and the person gets a baseline test and then regular tests up to 12 months in some cases. I read that a nurse seroconverted some 18 months after a needlestick, although she used PEP for 2 months following so I wonder if all that did was delay her seroconversion. I also understand she was co-infected with Hep c which can cause a delay in one of the Viruses being non detected for a time period. I personally wonder if 13 weeks is enough but alot more people with alot more experience and education regarding this virus have indicated it is enough. I trust that the medical world would always suggest a date on the safe side. Why say a 6 week test is definite when for some people it is obviously not, again there are various reasons for that. I believe that a healthy person, will convert within 6 weeks. All positive people I have talked to that could estimate their exposure date agreed that 8 weeks was the max they seroconverted and most were earlier.

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Anonymous
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Re: Lab Supervisor's advice. new
      #94602 - 04/07/04 01:19 PM

This further substantiates why the state of Massachusetts, France, WHO, & Thailand go by the six-week window. The state of Mass says that 99.6% of infected people will seroconvert by week 6, with the excpetions being organ transplants, persons on chemotherapy, or people with chronic rheumatoid arthritis. I have called the state of Mass a few times and their position is that a 6-month negative test for persons that are normally healthy is a definitive test. The 13-week test is not necessary.

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Anonymous
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Re: Lab Supervisor's advice. new
      #94604 - 04/07/04 03:25 PM

You mean a 6 week test is definitive? Do they use the traditional ELISA test? Please advise..

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Anonymous
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Re: Lab Supervisor's advice. new
      #94605 - 04/07/04 03:39 PM

In the eyes of the state of Massachusetts it is, if you have a normal immune system. Six weeks after your last exposure ... pls call them a t 1-800-235-2331 for more details.

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Anonymous
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Re: Lab Supervisor's advice. new
      #94637 - 04/07/04 06:40 PM

I called them and spoke with them today.

They do, ideed, state that a 6 week negative test is definitive. Strangely enough, I followed that call up with another call to the CDC. They claimed that the info from Massachusetts is based strictly on Massachusetts data -- so I called Mass back. The gentleman I had spoken to actually put me on hold to find out. He then claimed that their data is based on national statistics.

How could this be?!?!?!?! The CDC gave me the sermon from their website -- most people will show antibodies by 25 days, 3 months being definitive.

I don't know. Personally, I WANT to go by the Massachusetts data -- that way I'd be free and clear. According to CDC . . . I still have another week to wait.

Are there any experts online who can attest to the date as to when most people seroconvert (based on eitehr actual experince or knowing someone who is HIV+)?

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