Hello! 4 weeks ago I had brief, one time unprotected vaginal sex with a male former friend, who is heterosexual and claims to get tested regularly every 6 months. He, in fact, brought it up long before we ever became "more than friends". He gladly offered to get tested again to ease my worries; however, I severed all ties with him just 2 days afterward and never followed up with him regarding his current status. Stupid yes, but unprotected sex w/him was stupid in the first place, so at least I'm consistent.
He did not ejaculate inside of me. At 18 days post exposure I tested negative with an HIV 4th gen antibody/antigen test, then negative again at 23 days with the same type of test. I also tested negative on an antibody test at 23 days at my doctors office since she offered it (not because I was expecting anything fully conclusive). At 20 days I submitted a blood sample for an early detection RNA test and am awaiting results.
Skip the symptomatic stuff below if you don't find it relevant:
At 15 days post exposure my throat became mildly sore, almost unnoticeable, I developed mild headaches and my body temp rose slightly to around 99ish for a few days on and off. Never above 100. This is also the day I really began to stress obsessively about HIV and I noticed my "symptoms" developing soon afterward. 3-4 coworkers in our very small office became ill with viral and bacterial infections at this exact time as well, horrible timing since I ALWAYS catch whatever's going around the office. After days of extreme stress and not eating, at 23 days post exposure I developed a bad dry cough, my temp climbed slightly to 99.7, and my pharyngitis worsened, much like my coworker who was sick at work the week prior. My temp and pharyngitis pain respond well to Theraflu and Advil for several hours at a time and I usually feel fine but constant cough and mild pharyngitis persist, also some pain/burning in my ear on right (same side of the throat that's sore) and some congestion/drainage. The cough is not unusual for me at all, however the constant sore throat is unusual. My doctor said it looked viral (o rly?!), but similar to a mild cold. I mentioned my risk situation, she offered the antibody test and some other STD testing. This is also the day I had my second 4th gen test done (Ab/Ag) which came back negative, along with the tests from my doc. I have no other symptoms, I have checked my nodes and none of them were ever swollen during any of this...
Doesn't seem like textbook ARS but I understand that everyone reacts differently...theoretically let's say it is...
My main questions are:
1) would these ARS symptoms be significantly alleviated by Theraflu/Advil/DayQuil?
2) What is the likelihood of the 4th gen test (the one that tests for both antigens and antibodies) returning a false negative if tested at 18 days and then again at 23 days, especially if ARS symptoms are present?
3) Also, is there anything that would affect the results of the RNA test? I don't have any other STDs at this time, possible had a cold virus at the time of testing (20 days) but nothing serious. I've been told that RNA tests do have a tendency to return false positives at a higher rate than other HIV tests because they're so sensitive, but I can't find any documentation for what would trigger this to happen. I understand how it could possibly happen with an antibody test. Why would an RNA test mistake non-HIV RNA for HIV RNA if human error is ruled out? Does it ever mistake HIV RNA for human RNA or non-infectious viral RNA? Or even infectious viral RNA if someone has a typical cold when providing their blood sample? Or...would the false positive rate be more likely attributed to human error as opposed to something biological due to the complicated nature of the test?