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HIV/Syphilis Exposure
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HIV/Syphilis Exposure

Please help me.  I'm a married mum of two that has had really bad problems with her marriage over the last two years.  I started an affair 14 weeks ago. I can't remember when we first started having unprotected sex but I think it was about 5-6 weeks ago.  I only agreed as he said he went to a GUM clinic and was negative from all tests.  I've since found out he only did urinary and not blood tests so wouldn't have been tested for anything I'm worried about.

Last Thursday, my lover showed me a rash over his arms and chest which I googled and it looks like syphillis (syphilis)//hiv rash.  He went to the doctors this morning and he said the dr gave him cream and antibiotics but he can't remember what the rash was called.  I asked him if it was contagious and he said no, otherwise he would have said something.  I don't want to even see or talk to him again.   My thoughts are why would the dr give him antibiotics if it was priatry rosea or something like that.  It obviously must be infectious????

As soon as I saw the rash, I booked the next available GUM appt which was on Saturday just gone.  I did a HIV pin prick test (the UK 12 weeks test) which came negative, but obviously I now realise I tested way to early.  What is scaring me now is I've not eaten in the last five days (pretty much ANYTHING), I have a white tongue and its throbbing so Im certain its thrush and the palm of my hands have had constantly painful pins and needles.  I've had no rash or fever, but these symptoms are documented symptoms of HIV?

I have slept on average 4 hours a night since I saw that rash and my results are not back until Thursday.  I'm now contemplating a HIV DUO test as I'm not getting any restbite.  I've now realised how much I love my husband and our family unit and I dont want to jeapordise that at all.  What's your advise?

I'm in London, UK.

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50 Comments Post a Comment
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1163575_tn?1339482217
symptoms dont diagnose hiv..you cant be sure what are his symptoms related to..most likely its not related to hiv as not everyone has got hiv..
however, you need to test for hiv and other stds since you had unprotected sex with a person of unknown status..
for hiv ,test at 6-8 weeks post exposure for a good indication of your status..
test again at 3 months for a conclusive result..all the best..
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1163575_tn?1339482217
even hiv Duo test must be repeated at 3 months for a conclusive result..
dr hhh in the expert forum says he has never seen anyone who test negative at 6-8 weeks test positive later on..so the odds are definitely on your side..
your 6 week negative result is very good indication of your status..
test again at 3 months for a conclusive result..most likely your negative result wont change
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks.  I don't know if this is a US site.  Are the tests different in the UK?  I've done reading none stop but inearly everything is contradictory.
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1163575_tn?1339482217
this is a site open to people from all over the world..
all hiv tests are the same..antibody tests detects antibody and 4th generation tests test for antibody and antigen..
the guideline in UK is the same as no test is conclusive before 3 months
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you so much.  I'm going back at the end of the week for the six week test and I get my full screen tests back tomorrow.  What are your thoughts about the 4th generation test as that is very expensive.
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1163575_tn?1339482217
hiv Duo test can be used after 28 days post exposure as it detects the p24 antigen..therefore,this test may be used to detect hiv infection well before the person develops antibody..However, even this test is not conclusive before 3 months as a negative result must be repeated with another test at 3 months to be conclusive
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Avatar_m_tn
hi Kumar,,,  What about testing at 80 days?
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1163575_tn?1339482217
negative..its unlikely to change
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi there, an update.  

I got all my STD results back and they were negative for syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea.  I heard that syphilis has a window for testing just like HIV - is this correct?.  I've also read around and it says that you should test after your LAST exposure.  Therefore, my negative HIV test after my LAST exposure was only four weeks.  No one here does DUO tests without paying for it privately, as apparently it produces a lot of false positives.

It's been five weeks now since my last exposure and I've had thrush in the mouth which was very painful, strong migraines, muscle ache and loss of appetitie but as yet no rash or fever.  I'm going to take another pin prick test next week which will then be six weeks but I'm sick with worry.  When I rang the HIV help lines here, they said oral thrush wasn't a symptom of ARS but its on websites everywhere.

Is there any assurance I can take from a four week negative pin prick test? I can't sleep and its on my mind ALL the time - I think its making me ill.
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1163575_tn?1339482217
yes syphilis can take up to 3 months
a 4 week negative is not conclusive...
another test at 6-8 week will  be a better indication..
and u know 3 months is conclusive
dont worry your symptoms can be due to anxiety
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Avatar_n_tn
hai, syphilis sores start around 2 to 3 weeks, its transmited by skin to skin cotact,,oral sex and easy to transmit. Reg thrush the hotline was right, oral thrush appears only in advanced stage od hiv... So its obviously never a ars. Reg test result the standard antibody test at 5 weeks is a sign you are almost in the clear.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks to you all.  I'm so full of anxiety.  I constantly keep looking at my skin for any sign of rash.  I have a few spots on my calf (lower leg behind) but I think Ive just been bitten by something as its itchy and I've heard ARS rash isn't itchy?  Nearly every 10 minutes I'm looking at the calendar on my phone to try and work out number of weeks since last exposure as sometimes I think its less than other times.  My oral thrush is nearly gone but my throat is still sore.

In terms of ARS, do symptoms come all at the same time (i've no rash or fever) or is it spread out within the 2-3 week period?  The pins and needles in my palms are so painful.  But then I googled "Anxiety" and my symptoms are the same as those and ARS?  I think maybe I'm trying to calm myself down as I'm going crazy.  But I don't want to lull myself into a sense of security.  Is a rash and fever common to ARS as I'm only comforting myself I haven't (YET) had those symptoms...

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Avatar_f_tn
Please guys help.  I've read on thebody.com that Peripheral neuropathy (my pins and needles in my fingers) is a symptom of hiv?  Have you heard of that here?
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1163575_tn?1339482217
no..you are just very anxious...anxiety can cause many of the symptoms that you are experiencing
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you kumar.  I'm going to arrange an insti test as I'm going out of my mind.  They say 28 days is ideal but how accurate would it be at 19 days as my mind is playing tricks and I cannot remember last exposure date therefore just to be 100% sure I will take it from the week I had first pin prick test.
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1163575_tn?1339482217
if it comes back negative, you need to test again at 3 months as that is the guideline even for the UK...
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Avatar_m_tn
Debbie,

I don't know where you're getting your information. But I can tell you now you are wrong on several things.

Firstly the HIV DUO, very very very very rarely gives out false results. All Elisas can cross react with other antibodys. But the DUO is a highly reliable, sensitive and specific test. A 28 day negative with a DUO is as good as Gold according to Sean Cummings and Jose in the International Forum. Its just a case of collecting that negative 3 month test.

The NHS does use the HIV DUO. Its the recommended testing method now as it relaible detects early symptomatic infection. Get down to your GUM.

You need to stop looking for symptoms. Everyone on here has symptoms. I had, 2 days after exposure, swollen paratoid, lymph behind ear and in neck, sure I could feel lymphs under arms, red dots on cheeks, lots of ulcers in mouth. Developed guttate psriosis and just got out of hospital after having gangrenous appendicitis.

The first set of symptoms were Mumps. Unfortunate.

The Psriosis must have been a warning sign my appendix was in trouble. As soon as that had been removed everything returned to normal.

Neuropathy?! I wake up with pins and needles in my arms. You probably have a compressed disc or something.

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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks guys.  I've been totally manogamous since I was 17 to my husband for 16 years . I'm so sick with anxiety of my one and only indescretion and stupidity.. I have duo test booked on Friday and results back a week later.
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Avatar_m_tn
If you pester you will get them back faster, the turn around is only 24 hours.. Just takes time to add to computers etc. Where in UK you from?
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Avatar_m_tn
Firstly, anxiety and lack of sleep can give you all the ARS symptoms and make you feel really sick and look like the walking dead.

The trush (thrush) you are talking about might not be trush (thrush). Trush (thrush) usually is not isolated to the tongue (i.e. white tongue as you describe) but also cover the rest of the mouth. Besides, many people get trush (thrush) once in a while especially when stressed. Your symptoms don't sound very ARS-ish. His rash could be anything. If you look carefully on the bare arms of people on the street lots of people have varying levels of red bumps etc.

It is unlikely he had HIV and even then you would have good odds. But you should have used protection of course.

Regarding testing, the DUO tests are much more effective in the early part of infection. It is true that the test is only considered conclusive after 3 months in the U.S. But in other countries, like Denmark, the official guidelines now say 4 weeks are sufficient for DUO tests. I personally would retest at the 3 month mark for full reassurance but a negative test at 4 wks is definitely a good sign!
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Avatar_m_tn
yeah thats exactly what I did. And my test didn't change!
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Avatar_m_tn
Right - I will insert the full updated Danish guidelines. I think people should stick to the guidelines that are applies to their territory but I still think it can offer some reassurance.

From: http://www.ssi.dk/sw71750.asp
"Patients should be offered testing whenever they contact the health care system. After risk situations, testing should not be postponed until a certain period has passed. Patients should be informed that the majority of persons who become infected will test positive even shortly after exposure. Where the so-called combination test (antibody and antigen) is employed, negative test results are reliable four weeks after exposure.

If modern antibody tests are used, the corresponding interval is eight weeks, Figure 1. In cases where the blood sample is HIV-negative four weeks after a strong infection risk situation, retesting after another two months is recommended."

This was later clarified (http://www.ssi.dk/sw73707.asp):
CLARIFICATION OF NEED FOR HIV TESTING AFTER RISK SITUATIONS
EPI-NEWS 46/09 comments on the National Board of Health's new strategy on health staff's duty to actively offer HIV testing to anyone at special risk of infection. For persons actively requesting an HIV test, it was stated that testing should take place immediately in connection with the request and not, as previously, at a certain interval after the risk situation occurred, the so-called window phase. Persons requesting a test may be informed that the majority of those infected test positive very quickly and that a negative result in the now widely used combitest is reliable already four weeks after exposure; the corresponding period for modern antibody tests is eight weeks. It should be stressed that unless a patient presents with symptoms of acute HIV infection, the National Board of Health does NOT recommend a re-test after an additional two months, provided the blood sample is HIV-negative one month after an unequivocal risk exposure situation.
(Danish National Board of Health)

So as you can see the recommendation is that a negative result on the combi test is reliable already four weeks after exposure and they stress that retesting 2 months later is not needed unless there was a "unequivocal" risk and there were symptoms of acute HIV infection.
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Avatar_m_tn
Yes, its seems denmark are on the same page as the UK,FR and Australia. Debbie9, our governments dont take risks with dieseases like HIV.
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Avatar_m_tn
Yes I agree that the tests must be very reliable at 4 wks for them to make such clear recommendatinos. Yet, I think everyone should follow the guidelines that applies in their own territory as well, since they may take local factors into account (prevalence, subtypes etc.) but a 4 wk neg should definitely be reassuring in any case based on these guidelines.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm so scared but the awful thing is how scared would I have been if I didn't see the rash.  Probably not at all and that makes me feel sick.  I'm in central London.
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Avatar_m_tn
There are NO TESTS marketed or sold that will give a conclusive negative test earlier than three months.
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Avatar_m_tn
I really know how you feel because I've been there. You are in a state of mind where you are not being rational about the actual risk - you are thinking the worst possible. Therefore it is probably better not to think of it because it will just become worse and worse. Rest assured, the odds are in your favor. Don't worry about the rash. One of my friends have a rash on his back that comes and goes and he got antibiotics for it too. I'm not sure exactly what the infection is but I think a lot of bacteria can cause it. I also found a pattern of red bumps on my upper arms but it seems many at the gym have it as well. People aren't perfect - we have bumps, rashes etc. from the constant exposure to germs.
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Avatar_m_tn
No one advised that the result would be conclusive before 3 months, or that she shouldn't test at 3 months.
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Avatar_m_tn
Whomever advised that the test would be concluse before 3 months is a quack. There are NO TESTS WHAT-SO-EVER that can give a conclusive negative test earlier than three months and that includes the DUO test.
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Avatar_m_tn
Post-test discussion

The need for a repeat HIV test if still within the window period after a specific exposure should be discussed. Although fourth generation tests shorten the time from exposure to seroconversion a repeat test at three months is still recommended to definitively exclude HIV infection.

http://www.bhiva.org/documents/Guidelines/Testing/GlinesHIVTest08.pdf
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Avatar_m_tn
I absolutely agree with you - I would take it again at 3 months as well.
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Avatar_m_tn
Im sure thats what we said? A 4 week negative duo is a fantastic indicator and will rarely change.
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Avatar_m_tn
Yes I agree it is a very good indicator. However, since the manufacturers claim 3 months and since that is the CDC's recommendation as well, I would still do a test at a 3 month mark to get the conclusive, negative result. But a negative test at 4 weeks is definitely reassuring as can be seen from the guidelines of those countries.
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Avatar_n_tn
I HAVE ANSWERED ALL YOUR QUESTIONS,hai, you are likely not to have syphilis since syphilis sores start around 2 to 3 weeks.the infection that mimics hiv window period iS hepetitis (hepatitis).. So you got it wrong. Thrush is not a ars symptom, hiv related thrush occurs only at late stage of the infection.migrane (migraine),muscle ache,loss of apitite is due to the anxiety you are going through.Most people who catch the virus get high fever,sivere sore throat and rashes, your symptoms are not ars related either....
Duo test is reliable its sensitivity is as good as a stand alone antibody test and its also called the 28 day test ... Your 4 week pinprick test is encouraging, you are most likely to have a negative test.
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Avatar_n_tn
hai mum,here are the answers to all your questions,your 4 week pinprick antibody test is encouraging average is 25 days and you have crossed that mark, my guess is you are almost in the clear. sores related to syphilis occurs 2 to 3 weeks after exposure, the window period that mimics hiv is hepatitis,Thrush is not ars symptom thrush related to hiv occurs only at late stage of infection. Body pain,loss of apetite etc are anxiety related not hiv related. Symptoms associated with hiv ars are high fever,rashes and sivere sorethroat and some times swelling of lymph nodes so your experiences are not ars related.  duo test is also called 28 test and is as sensitive as a standard antibody test so you info on its high false positive is wrong.
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Avatar_m_tn
Yes people do and can get thrush during ARS.

Post-test discussion

The need for a repeat HIV test if still within the window period after a specific exposure should be discussed. Although fourth generation tests shorten the time from exposure to seroconversion a repeat test at three months is still recommended to definitively exclude HIV infection.

http://www.bhiva.org/documents/Guidelines/Testing/GlinesHIVTest08.pdf
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Avatar_f_tn
Another quick update from me.  

I went to the GUM clinic on Friday and I broke down in front of the nurse.  I couldn't take it anymore so she called in a counsellor who I spoke to.  The counsellor advised that I dont do lots and lots of tests as its making me more anxious and that I should just to the DUO test I was to take that day.  Its obvious I'm trying to close the window where I had unprotected sex.

Anyway, I went back to the nurse who couldn't find a vein etc, and had to call someone else in to take the blood.  She also did another INSTI test.  I should have stopped her (as per the advice given by the counsellor) but I didn't.  The nurse then started to look EXTREMELY worried and started to take out the instruction leaflet that comes with the test.  She then asked me to go back to the waiting room.  I TOTALLY flipped out and started hyperventilating and I said I wasn't going anywhere.  She brought in the same counsellor I'd spoken to.  Turns out that the result was negative (I even read the instructions for myself and the counsellor talked me through the instructions as well).  The nurse thought that the test had failed.

So that really got me going but I was comforted in the fact the second INSTI was negative (even though I know its still way to early for it to give any kind of meaningful result).  But tonight my 4 year old came over in a bumpy rash, had a fever and red/white painful tongue.  This has now reignited my anxiety - I ran him straight to hospital and they said he has Scarlet Fever which I have read online is rare.  They didn't take any blood tests.  Could I have passed something onto him??
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Avatar_m_tn
No you couldn't pass anything on to him. Scarlet Fever is scarlet fever..
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you both.  I guess the guilt is too much to bear.
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Avatar_m_tn
Insti's as far as I know are quite new to the NHS, I had one done in Preston, the Nurses were reluctant to use them to be honest. The first one she did, she messed up and the blood clotted ontop of the thing. The second one was ok.

Did you get a DUO aswel?
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi there. I got the duo but results not with me until the end of the week at least. I think because its a bank holiday today it might be even later.
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Avatar_f_tn
Just b strong 4 ua family.u cant kill uaself with worry.-ve test is encouraging.hd all syptoms (symptoms) but hv resolved 2 relax.
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Avatar_m_tn
You know yet Debbie? Ring them and get on their case!
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm too scared.
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Avatar_m_tn
Dont be scared, just get it out of the way, the longer you leave it, the worse you will feel. Its going to be a  BIG FAT NEGATIVE anyway!
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Avatar_m_tn
If you tested on the NHS forst time at 4 weeks it would have been a duo btw x
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Avatar_f_tn
Update!!! Negative duo and syphilis tests at 28 days!!  Thank you ALL for your support .  It's so appreciated given I had no one to talk to x
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Avatar_m_tn
Good stuff, have a nice weekend :)
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Avatar_m_tn
I know the hiv testing period is 3 months! I am asking you if you have ever seen a 3rd gen antibody test at a 4 week neg turn to pos at 3 months or 6 months?
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Avatar_m_tn
Yes..
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