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Avatar universal

Still worried


I've posted here before. I just feel like I need some extra clarification. It has been 6 months since my last post.

I had a high risk exposure in September 2011. I was tested by my GP in January and June (3.5 months and 9 months post exposure). On the tests it said it was a antigen/antibody test, but I"m not sure if this is true. My doctor wasn't sure.

My doctor keeps saying that 'testing can never be completely conclusive'. Is this true? I asked him 'so, can I be sure I don't have it now? Do I need any more tests?' and he couldn't give me a straight answer. He just said I could keep testing if I wanted to. I've also rung a few helplines who also said I could come for more tests. Why are they saying this if my last tests should be conclusive?

How can I ever move on if they can't completely rule it out? Is there a chance I could really have it? I have another test booked in for tomorrow but I don't know if I can go through with it. I'm simultaneously terrified of it:

a.)coming out as a real positive because the last 2 tests missed it
b.)coming out negative but still missing an actual infection
c.) coming out as a false positive, which I don't think I would be able to deal with. I honestly don't think I would be able to move past that.

Are any of these options possible? Do you think I should be tested again?
My doctor doesn't seem to think I can ever get a completely conclusive result so how can I ever be sure enough that I don't have HIV to do things like start a family?

I've spoken to my doctor about the anxiety I've been experiencing, but he wasn't very supportive and didn't really give me options.
I don't understand how having HIV can ever truly be ruled out. Tests could miss it? ...but without it being completely ruled out, I won't ever be able to move on.

Do you have any opinions on my testing or advice on how I can move forward from this?

Kind Regards.
8 Responses
300980 tn?1194933000
Welcome back to the Forum  I'm saddened that you continue to worry about the possibility of having acquired HIV from this low risk exposure.  

Please understand that in science, nothing is EVER 100% sure.  We VERY frequently get questions asking if different types of tests, exposures or prevention measures are 100% accurate or effective.  The answer to that is that this is scientifically impossible.  For a variety of mathematical reasons far too complex to go into here, all one can do with well conducted scientific studies is estimate probabilities.  The better the study the more "sure" the estimate is.  By definition however, any estimate, cannot ever be 100% certain because of the incredibly low possibility that someone will get HIV through a previously undescribed mechanism tomorrow.  On the other hand, when Dr. Handsfield or I (or your doctor) say that something is virtually zero, very close to no risk, or of minimal risk, or use any other term to indicate a very small risk, that means "close to zero" in a world where zero cannot be attained.

As Dr. Handsfield has pointed out tests for HIV are among the best studied and evaluated tests to ever be made. Thus while one can never be sure, this is true in the same sense that you cannot be sure that a meteor from space is not going to strike you while reading this or that an alien has entered your body while sleeping without your knowing it.  It just is not something realistic to worry about. After two negative tests your risk for having HIV is simple as close to zero as it might be and far lower than your risk of being struck by a car or hit by lightning.  Please do not worry.  If you cannot move on, then I think you need to seek help in how to move forward with this by talking to a counselor or other mental health professional.  You should not be worried about HIV at this time. EWH

Edward W. Hook III, M.D.
Avatar universal
Thank you.
I just went and had a final test, which will be 2 years after exposure. I think if this test comes back negative, I will finally be able to move on (hopefully).

Should I be worried about false positive or real positive tests if I have already had 2 negatives?

I'm hoping after this one I can stop worrying as there aren't even any known cases of positives turning up this late (that I know of)
300980 tn?1194933000
I anticipate your follow-up test will be negative. If it is positve, a false positive result is more likely than a true positive.  I would not worry.  eWH
Avatar universal
Got negative results on my blood test for HIV, hepatitis and syphillis. This is 2 years post exposure + my 4.5 month and 10 month negative results.

No more worrying for me?
300980 tn?1194933000
No need for further concern. No need for further testing.  this will conclude this thread. Take care. EWH
Avatar universal
Thank you for your help.
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