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Avatar universal

HIV RNA window period confusing

Everything I read says the HIV RNA test has a window period of 9 to 11 days. This is confusing to me. Can i get tested at 9 days or should I wait until it's been 11 days?

I had high risk situation, I am a female who had unprotected anal (with no ejaculation) with unknown status male on two separate occassions. He is a white straight 45 year old, doesnt use any form of drugs, but he is promiscuious (meets women online and has unprotected sex). We met online and talked for a while before meeting, we both had too much to drink and had sex. We met again a week later, drinking and sex again.

I am 5 days out from our last encounter and realize how stupid I've been. And I'm really scared. I want to test as soon as possible, but want it to be as accurate as possible. I'm thinking the RNA test on day 10, the duo test on day 28, and a followup 3 month test. My anxiety and depression are severe so waiting on a 3 month test is impossible.

In case someone asks, yes I asked him about his status after the fact, he was surprised and said it's been awhile since he's been tested and doesn't think he's at risk. Which didnt ease my fears. We are actually technically dating, but at this point I can't move forward until I have some answers.
5 Responses
Avatar universal
If you are dating and he won't test for you now then you have to ask why. This is a subject that people who just start relations need to be open about and it is a good time  to get him tested if needed. Perhaps he hasn't had any risk since his last test? If he can prove he is negative then that will save you testing.
After 28 days the 4th gen test will be conclusive. The RNA can give false positives.
Try to relax until your test, but I would get solid answers about his status now.
He says I'm being paranoid - he's a straight guy why would he need a test - his words not mine. And now I havent heard from him today. At this point my only option is to test.

I had the HIV RNA in 2012 after learning my boyfriend was cheating (I broke up with him) and it came back negative, Im pretty certain I took it at 10 days post last exposure, then followed it up with a 3 month test. I then got married and was tested in 2013 when I got pregnant, then yet again in 2014 for another pregnancy. My husband and I divorced and Now Im in this situation.

Its really affecting me and Im struggling to not panic. What are the odds of a false positive on the RNA test?
I think the RNA can't pick up more than 90% in this window, so we recommend waiting for the duo. Someone here will correct me if I am wrong.
There are stats on getting HIV but they apply to many episodes in the general population so it would be misleading to think it will be of use in determining your particular situation with only 2 encounters.
Perhaps he is negative, but his response doesn't answer  your question so that will likely be a pattern in your relationship. fyi.
Im def not having sex with him again unless he tests, I cant live like this! Ive researched statistics until my head hurts: I was only exposed to precum, it only happened twice, I live in an area where it's not prevalent, he's straight and doesnt inject drugs, but the bottom line is - a risk is a risk and idk his status. I keep checking my temp just waiting for something to go wrong... its gonna be a VERY long 23 days ;(
Doctors don't diagnose HIV from symptoms, so you will waste your time and get very fearful for no reason if you try to diagnose by monitoring what you think are symptoms.

Only a test is used for diagnosis, so try to relax and accept that there will not be any clues until then. Most everyone who posts here thinks they have ARS but I have never seen any that were ARS, so that shows self-diagnosed symptoms are of no value.
Avatar universal
Ok its now day 17 since first risk and day 11 since second rish, and I woke up with tingling hands and feet that has persisted all day. I read that peripheral neuropathy is a sign of ARS and Im really scared! Im waiting to test at 28 days but this is really scary. How likely would it be that PN is my only ARS symptom?
HIV doctors don't study symptoms to diagnose without a positive test result because it doesn't prove anything, so you also shouldn't.
Try to relax until your test in about 17 days.
Avatar universal
Hi there I really think there Is not much to worry about here

If you would some early re assurance or answer

1) you can take ag/ab combo test at 3weeks

Then 4weeks we have never seen turn positive after that ag/ab combo

6 weeks if you want to be conservative for ag/ab combo

Do not ever go for 3months ! 6weeks is the end of all consertive things if you want to be 3months is old news

If you want early answer you can take ag /ab combo at 21 days . That I am Quite sure will ease the mind

Symptoms are mostly severe if they do occur :sever rash like chicken pox nobody will miss , severe sour throat and fever that no medicine anytime soon will go away

They start as early as 10 days . You don't have anything severe so nice ! And at 3 weeks if you feel okay you arnt having serous fever or rash all over your. Body where your family will say something is really wrong with you . You can be even more confident


Thank you for the reassurance. I'd been doing good about not stressing and just living my life, but now this tingling in my hands and feet is a constant reminder and its making me crazy. Ive been crying and having panic attacks. I dont know what to think, it's impossible to find info about PN being the only symptom of ARS, but I'm thinking anything's possible as most people have no sypmtoms at all.

So a three week duo test would give me a slight indication of status?
Why don't you see your doctor and get a prescription to relax you?
All the useful facts are on this thread. Hunting the internet is guaranteed to make you tense because as I said, HIV doctors don't diagnose from symptoms but you are ignoring that and self-diagnosing which is guaranteed to make you feel very tense.
Also, self-diagnosis is usually wrong , btw.
Anxious I appreciate your input but Im not self diagnosing Im just scared. Im not here because I gave oral or french kissed someone, Im here because I was stupid and actually have real risk. I came here to ask about the RNA test and I took your advice and am waiting to take the duo test. I cant discuss this with anyone in my life so I come here to get reassurance and advice. If my fear bothers you then feel free to ignore my posts.

I have GAD and OCD, Im already on meds for both. This situation has exacerbated my condition and Im coping the best I can while in the window period. Im not a WW with a non risk and negative tests, and I feel like your response is a bit patronizing.
Avatar universal
Hi Lucee,

I can understand your concerns.
I also had sex (protected) with a lady i met online. Unprotected oral and my crazy mind possibly thinks that the condom broke after the 3rd intercourse.
What made me crazy was her attitute after i asked her if she got ever tested.
She almost disappeared without answering my messages. I became paranoid. She was supposed to send me her previous tests but always used excuses. So i had a negative PCR at 8 days which now im very concerned that it was too soon.
Anyway. What i want to say is that i also deal with light OCD and fear for specific illnesses. I think its part of the explanation of our fears and terror. The majority of the people are operating differently and will never understand how our mind works.
I agree that you have put yourself in real danger but after you clear with this incident it is 100% sure that you will do it again.
Even if it wont be a real risk you will act like it was...
The problem is deeper but unfortunately during the "crisis" period we will never be able to realize it.
I think a PCR now would ease your mind. Time is enough for it.

Avatar universal
3 weeks after first risk and 2 weeks after second, saw my dr who sent me for well check labs (not std ones) for my dizziness and fatigue, they came back with low hematocrit and hemoglobin, low vitamin b, and i had very low blood pressure, the next day i developed severe thrombosed external hemorrhoids and a bump on my vagina. Tomorrow I go to a rectal specialist and On friday I go to my gyn - i'll request a full std screening, at which point it will be exactly three weeks after last encounter. Im emotionally and physically drained at this point and in alot of pain from the hemorrhoids, worried about the anemia as its a sign of recent hiv infection. Im not sleeping anymore but i stay tired. This has been a long and trying month for me that i wouldnt wish on my worst enemy.
And just to add she upped both of my anxiety meds. Im hangin in there but in so much pain. So far no fever, rash, or swollen nodes. Yes ik ik symptoms mean nothing, but i was so healthy before all this and now its issue after issue. I took a sleep aid tonight and hope it works, not sleeping is making me cranky and crazy.
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