immunocompromised

Question

Hi i dr first of all i think you are great... anyway im a gay male and recently started seeing a guy we got tested together and both came up negative, mine was at 8 weeks no i read on a site it is 95% accurate at 8 weeks unless you have an expceptionally weak immune system. now im not immunocompromised for any rreason but do get sick somewhat frequently do you think this would effect my result because my body would take longer to produce antibodies? or in theory should my 8 week test be ok especially considering i always practice safe sex

Answer

Hello,

First of all I cannot confirm the "95% accurate at 8 weeks" statistic, as there are many variables to consider, including what generation test is being used. Second, even if the 95% figure was correct, that would mean the test misses 5 out of every 100 diagnoses! That's no where near accurate enough when dealing with a disease as potentially catastrophic as HIV. At this point most published guidelines continue to recommend testing at the three-month mark for a definitive test result. I certainly agree the vast, vast majority of folks infected with HIV will have detectable levels of anti-HIV antibodies and p24 antigen in their blood within four to six weeks of primary HIV infection.

Next, "getting sick somewhat frequently" does not mean you are immunocompromised! Folks that are significantly immunocompromised have difficulties with severe persistent infections, such as meningitis, pneumonia, chronic sinobronchitis, persistent skin boils and infections, etc. I tend to doubt this description fits you, right? Yeah, I thought so. My advice is to be very encouraged by your negative eight-week test, to stop worrying about immunocompromised status/delayed seroconversion and to get a definitive/conclusive HIV-antibody test at the three-month mark.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob