Rapid test at 5 months

Question

Dear Sir:

May God bless you for all good Karma. I am a professional from India and working in Canada and had risky sexual encounter 5 months agon on May 16,2008 with a guy who later turned out to be positive. My blood HIV test at two weeks after exposure was negative but in past five months I had folowing symptoms like, fever for 5 weeks, weight losss about 7 lbs and sore throat 5 weeks and sore lower legs. After 10 weeks I started to have burning while breathing, ski itching,yeast infection of skin (which went away with skin ointment) and also white coated toungue for last 8 weeks and burning in breathing is on and off and coated tongue is till present and I gained 4 lbs also but what worried me that i addition to oral thrush or coated tongue now I had painless blood blisters inside my left cheek and swollen lymph node on and off under left armpit only I got so worried that I 100% assumed that I am HIV positive and today I went for rapid HIV test at Provincial HIV clinic in canada and my rapid test came negative at 5 months which i find hard to believe. I asked nurse to do regular blood test she said hat am fine.I am on valtrex but worried if that has caused false negative? Does FDA approved rapid HIV test in canada at provincial HIv clinics are relialble? Is HIV rapid test at five month mark is definative and conclusive? Do i need to take another test if not then why i still have white tongue and occasinal burning while breathing and occasinal painless blood blisters inside my left cheek and swollen lymph nodes under left armpit only and left neck? Sir, I am worried please get me out of this and also educate me how to pay donation on line I am new to all this. It will be great if you can answer my question as We dont have such resources in India and I am fortunate to know about Body and you and seeing people asking questions all over the world

Answer

Hello Indian Guy Working in Canada,

I'll assume your "risky sexual encounter" involves unprotected sex of some type. Certainly unprotected sex does place you at some degree of risk for STDs, including HIV. Consequently, testing is warranted. "Symptoms" are notoriously unreliable in predicting who is and is not HIV infected. You need to rely on specific HIV test results. Your negative HIV rapid test at five months is extremely encouraging. Because you had a significant exposure to a person confirmed to be HIV positive, the CDC recommends one additional follow-up HIV antibody test at the 6 month mark for a conclusive result.

I must point out that "assuming" that you are HIV positive and actually "being" HIV positive are two very different things! Check out the archives of this forum. There you'll find many other folks who were 100% convinced they were HIV infected only to find out sometime later that they were in fact HIV negative! Valtrex does not affect the accuracy of HIV testing.

I cannot diagnose the cause of your various symptoms over the Internet. However, I very strongly doubt they are caused by HIV! I anticipate you'll soon be WOO-HOOing!

Donation information for the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation can be found on the foundation's Web site at www.concertedeffort.org. Thank you for your willingness to help others in desperate need.

Be well.

Dr. Bob