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Avatar universal

HIV Testing and Window Periods

Dear Dr. Handsfield,
     I had unprotected vaginal and oral sex with four different women in the United States at different times in the month of January, 2014 and am concerned about a possible HIV infection.  The last time I had sex was on January 18, 2014 and none of these women were known to be HIV infected.  I am a young and healthy straight male and have never touched a drug nor been jailed.  I am circumcised, do not have any type of sexually transmitted diseases to my best knowledge, and have performed extensive testing as follows:

- January 21, 2014: HIV 1/2 Antibodies, HIV 1 RNA PCR (Negative, Non-Reactive) performed at Memorial Hermann Houston, TX

- February 3, 2014: HIV 1/2 Antibodies, HIV 1 RNA PCR (Negative, Non-Reactive) performed at Memorial Hermann Houston, TX

- February 17, 2014: HIV 1/2 EIA, HIV 1 RNA PCR, HIV 1 Direct ELISA p24 Antigen Screen (Negative, Non-Reactive, Negative) performed at Quest Diagnostics Houston, TX

- March 21, 2014: HIV 1/2 EIA, HIV 1 RNA PCR, HIV 1 Direct ELISA p24 Antigen Screen (Negative, Non-Reactive, Negative) performed at Quest Diagnostics Houston, TX

- April 14, 2014: HIV 1/2 EIA, HIV 1 RNA PCR, HIV 1 Direct ELISA p24 Antigen Screen (Negative, Non-Reactive, Negative) performed at Quest Diagnostics Mexico City

I have had throat pain for the past two weeks and difficulty swallowing.  The laboratory director of Quest Diagnostics Mexico City explained to me in writing that my abundance of tests performed at different laboratories were not yet conclusive and that I needed three more HIV 1 RNA PCR tests (one every month for the next three months) in order to definitively rule out an HIV infection.  I thank you in advance for your support and will highly appreciate your detailed opinion regarding this issue.
2 Responses
239123 tn?1267651214
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Welcome to the forum.  Thanks for your question.

The standard HIV tests are among the most reliable diagnostic tests that exist, for any medical condition.  If enough time has elapsed since the last possible exposure (anywhere from 10 days to 6 weeks, depending on the specific tests), the rest results overrule both exposure history and symptoms.  In other words, no matter how high the risk seemed to be at the time, and no matter how typical the symptoms may seem to be for a new HIV infection, negative test results ALWAYS tell the truth.

You either misunderstood the advice you received from Quest labs, or the advisor was misleading you.  You have been seriously overtested already.  Stop wasting your money and don't have any more.  The results prove you don't have HIV and something else is causing your symptoms.

I hope this has helped. Best wishes--  HHH, MD
Avatar universal
Dear Doctor, thank you very much for your kind words.  I greatly appreciate the time you have dedicated to my question and wish you the very best.  To recapitulate on what you have suggested, do you believe that my testing is definitive and conclusive that I have not been infected by the HIV?  I wish you the very best and await your reply.
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