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Testing questioned by Media

I have left this site for the last few months with very rare exception, as these sites fuel my anxiety and I am currently seeing a psychiatrist for severe OCD.  
Unfortuanetly, recent media artcicles have questioned both the accuracy of rapid tests (as you have discussed) and this week in SF - the accuracy of lab tests in CA due to lack of supervision.
Also, this past week, when reviewing notes from a class at my top tier liberal arts college  - "The Biology of Disease", I noticed that our slide show (printed copies) suggested antibodies to HIV could arise in as little as 8 weeks, but as late as 6 months or years! YEARS! I was baffled.  Has there ever been any scientific evidence to suggest that it can take years?  I understand it is tough to narrow down the actual exposure that caused some to seroconvert and in turn muffing the research.
Because of the issues with rapid testing, and at the encouragement of my general practicioner, I rec'd another blood test (now I apparently have reason to believe it could be inaccurate) at 10 months. I have now tested negavtive with blood lab based results at 1 month, 4 1/2 months, 175 days, and 10 months.  I had a NAAT performed at the mens free clinic in LA that was also negative at 6 months.  I have also tested negative with rapid tests.  
My fear is that test accuracy has now been called in to question and the NAAT has never been truly approved.  Is there any reason to continue testing to one year or beyond?  I want to start a family, and I have been faithful since my last expposure on 10/26/07.  
Your last responses were very helpful, but clearly testing methods have been called in to question. Also, as I may (or may not) (drunk) have been fully protected, I would like for you to assume I was unprotected.
My therapist wants me to print your response and carry it with me as a reminder, so your details prove helpful.
5 Responses
239123 tn?1267651214
The recent research questioning the accuracy of rapid HIV tests has been discussed in some detail on this forum.  To start, see http://www.medhelp.org/posts/show/621245.  There were other more recent discussions as well.

Even with some questions about rapid test performance, you have no worries.  First, if there is roughly a 5% chance any particular rapid test is falsely negative, then the chance that 4 tests (like you had) all would be false is 0.05 x 0.05 x 0.05 x 0.05 = 0.00000625.  That's less than 1 in 100,000.  To that you have to add the chance you caught HIV to start with.  You don't describe that event, but if it was unprotected vaginal sex with an infected woman, that itself had only a 1 in 2,000 chance of infecting you.  (I am "assuming" you were unprotected -- but in fact you were protected, so your risk is lower still.)  So even if your partner had HIV, your calculated risk of having it comes to no more than one in a billion.  In other words, forget it.

As for time to positive HIV test, your biology of disease lecturer is talking theoretical outcomes. With modern HIV testing, for practical purposes there is no such thing as having a negative HIV test more than 3 months (maybe very rarely 6 months) after infection.

Putting all these facts together, it is simply impossible you have HIV.  I hope this helps.  Let's not have an ongoing follow-up discussion.  There is no information you can possibly provide that would materially change my opinion or advice.

Regards--  HHH, MD
Avatar universal
I forgot to mention - I do not have many symptoms, outside of what I assume is anxiety driven headaches, and body aches - also some weight gain.  Otherwise, I have had contact eye infections and I have developed GERD for the first time in my life and was also diagonised with Barretts esophagus though it was later reversed and my esophagus is simply inflamed due to my new onset of GERD. I also have tingling in one of my fingers...I touch the base and it tingles in my fingertips. I do not think any of this matters, but wanted to fully advise you. Thx again.
239123 tn?1267651214
This information (posted while I was writing my reply above) doesn't change anything.
Avatar universal
Thank you - the four tests listed above were not rapid however - they all were sent to LabCorp and tested with bayer chemoimmunoassay....
I also had rapid tests ( one at 4 months, 6 months, and 8 months) while waiting on these results due to anxiety.
My exposure was with a CSW in Vegas, single exposure. Partially protected at least.
The statement "practical puposes" is diconcerting, but such is expected when discussing probablity and science. Is it smart to conisder a NAAT as a hedge against the chance of a false negaitve? That was the intention of my advisor at the men's health clinic. He said one or the other would definitely be positive at 6 months if I had been infected.
I will take your advice and pocket them - this HIV anxiety is truly a most difficult and deceptive mental condition. My prayers and wishes for you. Many thanks  - last post.
239123 tn?1267651214
This information makes the proof even stronger that you could not have caught HIV and were not infected.
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