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HIV test reliability
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HIV test reliability

hello Doctors,

I had an unprotected vaginal sex with a friend. My worry is because he is from Africa (Kenya) and you know the HIV rates in Africa is very high (I read is around 26/1000). I know it was a big mistake and high risk, but I don't want to get you bored with specific details, I learned from the experience.  I told him that he had to do the test because I was over-worried, and he did it. It was negative, but I couldn't believe him and I still being worried. So, at this moment, I did 4 hiv test, all were negative.
- HIV-1/2 antibodies (4th generation recombinant) at 48 days - negative
- HIV-1/2 antibodies (4th generation recombinant) at 56 days -  negative
- HIV test (ECLIA) - 63 days - negative
- HIV antigen / antibody combo - 87 days (12 weeks, 3 days) - negative

I also did STDs test and were negative. But I am still worried because I read the results are conclusive at 3 months but also 6 months!! I have to mention as a product of my overstress, I develop chronic hives. dermathologist told me it doesn't have any cause, but now I am thinking is for my stress. In the beginning I thought was rash and I believed was one of the symptoms of ARS but the doctor told me it is not rash, it is just allergy.

My questions are, Am I absolutely negative according to these 4 tests? Do I have to do another test at 6 months?

many thanks!





239123_tn?1267651214
Welcome to the forum.  Thanks for your question.

You are of course right that HIV is far more common in parts of Africa, including Kenya, than it is in North America or Europe.  But you don't say your partner's HIV status?  Did you ask?  Probably he has been tested, and if positive he would have told you.  If he has tested negative, of course you weren't at risk.

More to the point of your question, the HIV lab tests are among the most accurate diagnostic tests for any medical condition.  No matter how high the risk of HIV, the test results are 100% reliable if done sufficiently long after the last possible exposure to the virus.  That interval is 4-12 weeks, depending on the specific test (or combination of tests).  It is never necessary to wait 6 months; that's an outdated urban myth, left over from older tests that haven't been in use for 20 years.  Even if your partner has HIV, you wouldn't need to be worried, given your negative test results.

Below is a link to a thread that discusses the time to reliable HIV test results, including the reasons that official advice remains 3 months, even though earlier testing (4-8 weeks) almost always is conclusive:

http://www.medhelp.org/posts/show/1704700

For those reasons, you needn't be at all worried.  Your first test (the 48 day 4th generation [duo] test) was conclusive and the others also confirm you were not infected.

I hope this has helped.  Best wishes--  HHH, MD
3 Comments
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yes, I mentioned about his status, but probably it wasn't clear, sorry about that. He said he was totally safe but it wasn't enough for me, so he said he did the test and it was negative. But I couldn't believe on him, I don't know why. I think my mind is playing very bad to me. That is why I did the test to confirm my status. But I was confused between 3 months vs 6 months.

Thanks so much for the information doctor, I think now I have to move on with my life and try to be more relax,
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239123_tn?1267651214
Sorry -- I missed your report of your partner's HIV status. My fault, not yours.

In any case, your negative results (and his) prove you don't have HIV.  You can indeed "move on with [your] life and try to be more relax".

Best wishes.
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