HIV - Prevention Expert Forum
Pending Antibody Test Results
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This forum is limited to prevention of HIV and to safe sex in general. All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

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Pending Antibody Test Results

I had unprotected vaginal intercourse one time 69 days ago. I had an HIV antibody test and syphilis test 38 days later and tested negative. The doctor sent me to a Labcorp facility where I gave blood. I noticed on the results page that the lab had faxed the results to the Dr. the next day.

I re-tested for HIV and syphilis one week ago today (62 days post) with a different Dr. I gave blood at the office and it was sent to a lab. I was told I'd have the results today, but when I called, I was told that they only had the partial results and they would call me when they had the full results.

What is a partial result? Why could this be taking so much longer than the test at 38 days? My blood pressure was much higher than usual when I tested last week. I was able to calm myself down over the Thanksgiving weekend, but I can feel my blood pressure rising as I type. I'm I needlessly panicking or is the long wait time a bad sign?
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300980_tn?1194933000
Welcome to the Forum.  I can understand that the delay in getting lab results can be worrisome but you really have little to worry about and there are other explanations. Different doctors use different labs and within labs not all labs do all tests every day.  This plus the Thanksgiving weekend may have delayed getting your test results. Further, the single exposure you describe was statistically a low risk event (you do not know your partner's HIV status, thus it is most likely negative and even if your partner had HIV, the risk of getting HIV from a single episode of vaginal sex is 1 infection for every 1000 sex acts).  Finally, your 38 day (5 week) test would have detected well over 90% of recently acquired HIV infections.

Bottom line, please don't worry. The likelihood your test will be positive is tiny.  

I hope my comments and perspective are helpful. EWH
6 Comments
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for your response Dr. Hook. Another day with no results. My concern was with the word partial. Do you think that means they only have results from one test or could it be that the ELISA was positive and they are waiting on a confirmation? I would assume if they thought I could be positive, that they would warn me to not have sex with anyone. Am I right?

I worry because when I tested for other STDs with the same Dr. and I would assume the same lab, the urine was sent to the lab on a Wednesday night. They called me on Friday to tell me that the preliminary results were negative and they called again Saturday to confirm that.

I'm concerned that they won't tell me what they know. They've had some results since last Wednesday. Any thoughts on this?
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300980_tn?1194933000
If the doctor's office has partial results, I would ask them what the results they have are, explaining that it is making you anxious and you are wondering what results are available and which ones are not.  I suspect that your doctor did not just do HIV tests, thus he/she may have result on some of the tests but not others.  If the person you speak to on the phone can't tell you which results you have and which ones are not yet avialable, I'd ask to talk to the doctor, explaining that not knowing is making you worry. EWH
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Avatar_f_tn
Hello Dr. Hook. I called the Doctor's office again today and they told me the results were negative. That test was at 62 days (one day shy of 9 weeks). Do I need to test again at 12 or 13 weeks or do you think these results are conclusive?
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300980_tn?1194933000
I please to hear that, as we expected, the test was negative. Any test obtained more than 8 weeks following a potential exposure to HIV provides definitive results.  There is no need for further teting- the results you have are definitive.  EWH
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you for your encouragement!
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