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HIV test results

I had an HIV test about a month ago, just to ease my mind.  I had not been sexually active(heterosexual) for about 3 months prior to the test, even then, it was all protected sex.  I had an unprotected sexual experience about 9-10 months before the test.  My question pertains to the results of the test, which was done by Quest diagnostics.  The test said that I was "non-reactive" to HIV antibodies, which I knew to mean "negative".  Great news, right?  However, underneath where it says that, there's a disclaimer to this effect; "This patient specimen is negative for HIV-1.  However, this does not preclude previous exposure and/or infection with HIV-1."  So, does that mean the test is pretty much useless?  Is this for people who maybe get tested too soon after a possible exposure?  I don't have any symptoms, and I don't engage in any high-risk behaviors, and I don't believe any of my partners ever have.  But, that little disclaimer is bothering me.  Thanks for your time, you provide a great service here.
4 Responses
239123 tn?1267647614
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
JohnnyV's comment below is correct.  It's a lawyer-driven CYA statement, to provide the lab and test manufacturer legal cover in case someone is infected duraing the window period before the test becomes positive.   The lab and test manufacturer can't know whether the person being tested has waited long enough for the test to be valid.

HHH, MD
Avatar universal
Hi,

I'm not an MD, but from what I know, that disclaimer is standard language they have to use when giving people neg. test results. It reflects the fact that if someone had had some kind of unsafe activity in the 3 months before the test, they could be walking around with a piece of paper proclaiming they're negative when they're not. It protects the test manufacturer and the testing site, but if you didn't have any possible exposures 3 months before, the language doesn't apply to you. Part of the problem is that lots of people don't tell the truth when they get tested, so they can't just take people's word that they haven't done anything in 3 months.

J
Avatar universal
Thanks Johnny, and Doc, your answers are much appreciated!
Avatar universal
A related discussion, got tested was started.
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