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Avatar universal

Fastest HIV Test?

I had a couple questionable encounters roughly two weeks ago. My blood is negative for HIV, but I'm told that this doesn't really mean anything since the HIV antibodies take up to 3 months (and sometimes longer) to even show up in the blood. This isn't okay with me. I have to know now. I hear that there is an RNA detection test that is accurate after a couple weeks. Is this true? And are there other methods of testing for HIV before three or more months have passed? How can anyone wait that long?
11 Responses
Avatar universal
And are there any statistics on the rate of female-to-male oral HIV transmission in the United States?
Avatar universal
To your latter question:
If I remember correct, Doc HHH once doubted on this site whether or not a single incident of that kind has ever been recorded. Naturally it may happen theoretically in case there is e.g. a fresh cut in mouth, penis or both. I have seen studies where HIV transmission risk in fellatio has been monitored, and in one of them not a single transmission occurred after approx. 19000 recorded blowjobs. In the other study only few people got the virus but they were all active ones, not the ones receiving oral sex. Moreover, people who got the virus typically had received semen in their mouth. This increases the risk significantly as there is HI-virus in semen.
Avatar universal
You can take the ELISA HIV test or Oraquick after 6 weeks and it will give a very accurate reading of your hiv status.  Their are test that look for the actual virus which are early detection type methods.  I believe it is HIV Proviral Test which you can take at 28 days.  Oral Sex is considered low or even in some circles no risk to hiv.  I have been told that our saliva has an active agent that breakdowns the virus and gives us protection from it.  As long as you are wearing a condom for vaginal or anal sex then you have protected yourself from getting hiv.  HIV is a fragile virus...

I hope that helps.  
Avatar universal
I agree your risk is pretty low to worry about.  But to answer your question, yes there are 3 more rapid tests:



and P24 antigen.  This test is a bit different in that you need to test before seroconversion for it to be somewhat accurate, since after seroconversion the p24 level will drop to a probably undetectable level.  The PCR tests should remain positive forever (assuming infection).  There are significant numbers of false positives, however.

None are as reliable as a 3 month antibody test, but they do return results faster, with the RNA test being the fastest.

With your incredibly low risk status, you don't need to wait 3 months, a regular antibody test at 6 weeks should be sufficient.
Avatar universal
When you say that there a lot of false positives, are you referring specifically to the P24 antigen test? I'd be too scared to get anything that has a high probability of giving me a false positive. I'm pretty sure I'd have a heart attack and make the test completely irrelevant.

As far as the RNA / DNA PCR tests, are these reliable? I haven't heard a lot about them. I'm going to see a doctor tomorrow to see about getting one, but it'd be great if anyone out there who has had one or who knows anything more about them might be able to give me some more information.

I read in an article that HIV medication can suppress levels of the virus in the blood to undetectable levels. What this means, I guess, is that one can have HIV without having noticeable levels of the virus in his or her bloodstream. Does this mean that I shouldn't trust RNA / DNA tests, which look for the virus in the blood? The advantage of these tests is time, but it sounds to me like they won't be any faster if the virus doesn't exist to any high degree in the blood until enough time has passed to just get the regular blood test.
Avatar universal
If you are recently infected, the virus levels are actually quite high before they drop down again after seroconversion.  But still, the PCR tests can produce both false negative and false positives.

The p24 test has a better (lower) rate of false positives but has a higher rate of false negatives compared to PCR.

A negative RNA PCR test after more than two weeks is thought to be >95% reliable.  So in your already low risk category, I would certainly trust that result.  The result I would not immediately trust is a positive, but some places will immediately redraw and test again in that case, which to me is a wise procedure.

But really, in your case, all these tests are going to do is ease your mind.  So I guess you have to answer that, which one will best ease your mind?
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