Hi Docs ! I am 21 year old male living in Sweden .I exposed myself to some risk while being in Ukraine , there I had protected sex with a prostitute( not street walker, rather high class) . The condom was on all the time and seemed intact and whole(though it was dark ).Since then I was extremely worried about that I acquired hiv and been paranoid about it. I tested first with rapid duo test by alere at 4 weeks-negative (my doctor here in Stockholm told that p24 antigen part is not as sensitive as the lab one but the antibody part is as good as the laboratory one) ,then I retested again when 9 weeks had gone with the same rapid duo test by alere(it is called Determine 1/2 AB-AG) the result was negative and my doctor told me to move one and forget about it and no need to retest at 12 weeks. I must also mention that I have contacted the girl and she got very worried and tested one months after the incident( it was negative but I am not sure which test they use in Ukraine and I find it difficult to trust her , though she seems not to lie but I am just afraid she is in her window period, though she says she has always had protected sex).Dear Doctors, would just like to know our opinion about following :
I am free of HIV and can move on ?
Do I need to retest at 12 weeks ?
Thanks in advance
Welcome to the forum and thanks for your question.
Reacting first to the title you chose for your question, before reading anything else: At 9 weeks after the last possible exposure, a negative HIV antibody test (rapid or otherwise) is virtually 100% assurance against a new HIV infection. Although 3 months is commonly recommended for definitive testing, in fact the tests pick up all new infection by about 6 weeks. So it would seem you can relax and not worry about HIV, regardless of the nature of the exposure and any symptoms you may have.
Now I have read the question itself. The evidence you didn't catch HIV is even stronger than I said above. A negative duo test, as well as separate negative tests for antibody and p24 antigen, is 100% proof any time more than 4 weeks after the last exposure. In other words, your doctor is exactly correct in saying "forget about it and no need to retest at 12 weeks".
On top of the test results, you also describe a condom-protected exposure with a partner who is unlikely to have HIV; even without testing, there was no cause to be at all concerned about HIV from such an exposure.
I hope this has been helpful. Take care and stay safe-- HHH, MD
Thanks a lot for your answer Doctor Handsfield !
I just like to ask one more question. My doctor here in Stockholm told me that at 9 weeks the antigen part of the test is no longer needed since everyone (except those on PEP) develops antibodies by 6 weeks ( he told me also that he has never seen anyone to seroconvert later than 6 weeks ) . He stated also that 12 week guideline is too outdated and has not been changed since it is not that priorityrised issue by health authorities.
I wonder if you are of the same opinion. He told me also that even 8 weeks is little a bit too much , in his opinion 6 weeks is enough even with a normal antibody test of the latest generation ( exactly as mentioned ). I wonder also if there is any difference between FDA approved testing kits and USAID approved ?
Thank you very much for your time.
To my knowledge, USAID does not formally evaluate or approve HIV tests, and I would assume that most HIV tests recommended for use by USAID are FDA-approved. For tests in other countries that may not have been reviewed and approved by FDA, probably USAID only would recommend those that have been certified by other countries' FDA-equivalent agencies. And these days HIV testing isn't rocket science; probably there are no unreliable tests in common use anywhere in the world.
Dear Doctor !
As I mentioned above , the duo test I took was a rapid test ( it is called Rapid DUO Determine by Alere ) . The thing is that the p24 antigen part is not as good as the real duo test thus I got retested at 9 weeks (my doctor requested it from me since of the above mentioned fact ). Does this update change your assement ?
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