HIV Prevention Community
53.6k Members
Avatar universal

ARS? I am so worried

I was tested for HIV on Dec 2nd and then decided to go again 6 days ago on the 21st Jan because I had a throat infection with a negative strep and mono test. I was worried my throat infection was due to acute HIV symptoms developing.

My last unprotected encounter was December 9th and the test last week cleared me for that, but I am worried that an encounter (sleeping in a bed with a partner) I had on the 17th Jan may have put me at risk, I am a straight female

I am just worried because I had had a few too much to drink that evening, and although my partner ensures me that no intercourse of any kind took place that day I am not convinced. I developed the unidentified throat infection (with pus on tonsils, no fever, no other symptoms, negative strep and mono test) on the 21st and that is when I decided to test for HIV again just to make sure from that date.

I was prescribed antibiotics for the throat infection and it went away promptly, was also tested for throat gono and chlamydia, also both negative.

My main concern is that if those were ARS symptoms it would have been too early to test and the potential infection would have not been identified.

Does this sound like ARS? When can I test again to see?
Is there a test I can get that can detect a potential infection earlier? When would that time be?
Do you think that it is likely I may have contracted HIV in this time due to these exposures? (I know the answer is probably not I'm just sick with worry and anxiety)
12 Responses
Avatar universal
No, not ARS. You can't diagnose by symptoms anyway. You had a risk and your initial test was negative (you weren't "clear" as you are still in the window period). You had a second exposure so you need to test at 4-6 weeks and confirm at 13 weeks your final result.
The STD specialist I went to informed me that the test I took (rapid finger prick)  was conclusive at 4 weeks (28days)? Is this not the case?
If I decide to go for the PCR/RNA early detection test when can I do that after this exposure?
Also I read in multiple places that p24 combo test can be accurate starting at 2 weeks, is that so?
Avatar universal
If it was a Duo test then its pretty much conclusive. CDC still requires one more final test 12-13 weeks even if a Duo test was used. The PCR test can detect the virus itself as early as 10 days.
Thanks for the info. I will look into those testing options.
Avatar universal
Yes the Duo is accurate at 14 days since at that time the p24 antigen is detectable by the test. That's why they call it Duo or combo. It looks for the antigen and antibodies. People that were found to have HIV reported that they first tested positive for the antigen but negative for antibodies (their body hadn't formed them yet).
Okay, I will take this test then. Are you willing to comment on how risky this all sounds? Should I be expecting a positive from the nature of my activity?
Avatar universal
Your welcome. Glad to help.
Avatar universal
Well most people don't have HIV. Your doing the right thing by testing. You should turn out ok. There has been people on here that report full blown ARS symptoms (fever, diarrhea, rash, fatigue) following an exposure they were concerned about and turned out fine.
Thanks, I appreciate your quick responses and information. My STD doctor/specialist has told me on numerous occasions that I test too frequently (about every 4 weeks since November, (when I had a real scare) I just really can't deal with the mental strain that these risks place on me and I must be certain at all times. Therefore I will go in for further testing and clarification. Thanks again. Does "full blown" ARS not include the sore throat? I thought that was a very common symptom, as well as the others you mentioned of course.
Avatar universal
Wait for 28 days or after (4-6 weeks) and test with 4th generation Duo, at this point P24 antigen will be at peak and antibodies will also be be forming. This is conclusive unless you have immune disorder or on chemo/PEP! This 3 month and 6 month is commercial
Avatar universal
If a person's P24 antigen cannot be detected at 3 to 4 weeks, it does NOT mean that that person is conclusively negative.

If a person's antibodies cannot be detected at 3 to 4 weeks, it TOO does NOT mean that that person is conclusively negative either.

That is what the 4th gen is supposed to do. It detects antibodies and antigens at 4 weeks, therefore, at 4 weeks it is flawed as a "stand-alone" diagnostic test.

The 4th gen at 4 weeks is an excellent indication. BUT NOT CONCLUSIVE.
When are tests conclusive then? If not at the time that most doctors say that they are?
Also are you going off CDC recommendations?
Avatar universal
4th generation is conclusive after 28 days, as the P24 antigens are at their peak and stay detectable for a further 2 months. The P24 protein is not affected by the immune system, compared to the antibodies which Vary slightly in response from each individual
Avatar universal
All hiv Tests are conclusive at 13 weeks (USA). Canada 12 weeks or 84 days. 6 months is no longer used.
Thank you, I will follow up with this testing. Fingers crossed.
Avatar universal
If a duo is almost 100% conclusive at 28 days, and p24 is detectable on a duo as early as 14 days. Are there percentages for when p24 is detectable via a duo at say 14 days / 17 days / 21 day?
Avatar universal
I've seen all over that DUO can be used and effective (with follow up of course) but as a good indication as early as 10 days. I would say once your in the 14-16 day range anywhere in there looks to be pretty accurate to detect for the antigen.
Avatar universal
Thank you for the answer, Canadiangirl. I've rrad conflicting infor on it. If p24 peaks at say 16 days, is the portion of the duo test less accurate from say day 17 on as antibodies are producing and p24 isnt as "strong"? Is this that "second window" I've read about? Or is that old information?
It is my understanding that the p24 antigen peaks from 14-28 days and then after that may become undetectable when the antibody attaches to it and is formed, the antibody is detectable from 28 days onwards. That is why 4th generation tests are used. They detect the antigen and the antibody, thus will cover this entire window period.
Have an Answer?
Top HIV Answerers
366749 tn?1544695265
Karachi, Pakistan
370181 tn?1595629445
Arlington, WA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
These tips can help HIV-positive women live a long, healthy life.
Despite the drop in new infections, black women are still at a high risk for HIV, the virus that causes Aids.
What are your HIV treatment options, and how do you choose the right one? Our panel of experts weighs in.
Learn the truth behind 14 common misconceptions about HIV.
Can HIV be transmitted through this sexual activity? Dr. Jose Gonzalez-Garcia answers this commonly-asked question.
A breakthrough study discovers how to reduce risk of HIV transmission by 95 percent.