Avatar universal

HIV Testing question, Home Access

Hi Doctor,
           I'm having a bit of a dilemma with hiv testing and guidelines, etc.  Obviously, i'm not the first, i've read several other posts on the same matter.  5 months ago, I had what would be deemed a "low-risk" encounter with a female (i.e. insertive unprotected vaginal and oral) with a woman of unknown status.  My anxieties were higher as I had just me her at a bar.  She seemed unconcerned about wearing condoms in the first place, and we began using one, but it came off and it took me some time to get the sense to stop (about a 4-5 min exposure time).  It should be noted, i am married and was working out of town.  This was my first and only act of infidelity, so needless to say my anxieties were at the utmost.  Of course like all others, I began researching symptoms and freaked out.  I was tested for all common std's except for hep b and hiv at 3 weeks post exposure.  They were all negative.  
Around the same time, I began to have symptoms that could be attributed to ARS:  several days of sore throat, groin and pelvic pain (lymph nodes?) which lasted for a month on and off, strong loss of appetite which also lasted for weeks, fatigue and weakness.  Finally after a month, when the symptoms largely subsided, I had a canker sore followed by a fever blister.  I checked my temp and although I didn't feel "feverish," a couple times my temp was up to 99.4.  I became certain I contracted hiv.
I waited the suggested "window-period" time, even longer to 4.5 months (18 weeks) and took a Home Access Hiv test.  The result was negative.  Sounds great, and I felt better but then read that Home Access uses the 1st gen ELISA, and even they recommend testing at 6 months to be accurate.  Furthermore, I am developing a plantar wart on my heel which i've never had before.  How accurate was my test, and should I test again at 6 months based on the symptom presentation?  Your advice is greatly appreciated!
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239123 tn?1267647614
Welcome to the forum.

For sure you don't have HIV.  The test result proves it.  The main difference between the earlier (first or second generation) HIV antibody tests was in how quickly they were reliably positive in the first 2-4 weeks; there is really no difference at all in performance across generations beyond 4 weeks.  And the 6 month advice from Home Access is unnecessarily conservative.  It never takes that long to develop measurable HIV antibody by any test.

In addition, your symptoms really do not suggest HIV -- they don't even come close.

So feel free to have a final test if one more negative result will help you get past your fears.  But instead of an older style like Home Access, why not seek out a truly modern test, like the DUO test (which measures both HIV antibody and p24 antigen) or a standard 3rd generation antibody test.  I do not suggest these because I believe there is any chance it will be positive -- strictly for psychological support.

Here is a thread that explains why so many agencies give advice for 3 or even 6 month tests even though it is virtually never necessary to go beyond 6-8 weeks:      http://www.medhelp.org/posts/HIV-Prevention/-A-Question-on-Testing/show/1347755

If your symptoms continue, see a health professional.  But stop worrying about HIV.  It's not a possible cause.

I hope this helps.  Best wishes--  HHH, MD
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Avatar universal
Thanks for your help, Doctor. I just needed a reputable opinion on things.  There is quite a bit of conflicting info out there.  Again, much appreciated.

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