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Avatar universal

Hiv ???

Hi Doc I've read all your forums about when to test and when a positive test is reliable but I was wondering if my situation could delay testing positvie. I just wanted to know if drug use like marijuana,some coke,and psychedelics before my exposure could make my immune system messed up, so could it take longer to produce anti-bodies with a person like me.? I know that probably isn't you're are of expertise but if you knew i'd appreciate some input. My exposure was unprotected vaginal sex with a girl who i now KNOW is pretty promiscuous after my first year of college has gone on. It was only for 3-5 min but i know that means cuz she was my first partner and I had stop since I didn't know her too well/and wasn't using protection. I got tested a little past 7 weeks and the test was negative but now i am worried in my case cuz i still have some symptoms like weird rashes and my arms itch and burn sometimes. I know this has been stressing me out a lot and I have been under a lot of anxiety. I am just so mad at myself for not being smart the first time cause it could be the last. Anyways I love these threads and from what I see you give people a lot of good info and we all are thankful. Thanks Doctor.
8 Responses
239123 tn?1267647614
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
You say you like my opinions, by which I assume like direct, no-nonsense replies.  I hope you agree when it applies to you, so here goes:  Nothing prevents becoming positive to HIV if infected, or delays the development of a positive test.  Not marijuana or any other drug, nothing.   Your negative test result at 7 weeks means you are not infected with HIV.

Most women in the US, even the most promiscuous, are not HIV positive.  Of course you should use condoms:  why take even a small risk of a deadly outcome?  But your risk of getting HIV probably was pretty low.

Best wishes--  HHH, MD
Avatar universal
I forgot add that I have had a sore throat at times but have been smoking as well. I've been cutting back a lot but I really need to stop. My tounge has been coated white with almost hair like looking things and on the back of my tongue stuff really builds up. Like food or coloring of drinks and stuff. Thanks again doctor!
239123 tn?1267647614
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
The additional information doesn't change my opinion.  Coated tongue is normal from tiem to time; and in any case, the blood test result is a much more reliable indicator of HIV (or its absence) than any symptom.

HHH, MD
Avatar universal
Thanks to everyone who writes on these boards and thank you doctor for you're prompt and knowledgable respone. I greatly appreciate a place like this because this whole experience has not been the best times of my life but without all the previous threads and the Dr's responses this would've been hard. Thank you all SO MUCH!
Avatar universal
How come 6 weeks is considered on this forum to be satisfactory indocator whereas the cdc recommends 12-13 weeks? Does this have to do with the type of test being administered?
Avatar universal
So then I take it you don't recommend retesting?
Avatar universal
Please keep in mind that our good Dr. HHH and the CDC serve two different functions.  The doctor is providing information for us to use to guide our decisions on testing.  A 6 week time period is a very good indicator of your HIV status, as the vast majority of people (the doctor estimates 99%) will test positive by then.  The ones that don't test positive likely have some other factor delaying seroconversion (autoimmune disease, being on chemotherapy, etc.).  

Other website forums that endorse the 13 week testing window acknowledge that the vast majority of people will test positive at 6 weeks, but believe it more appropriate to stick to the 13 week period endorsed by CDC.  Please note that Dr. HHH also basis his recommendations on the risk level associated with the potential exposure, and has on more than one occasion recommended testing at 13 weeks for individuals at greater risk.  One situation that comes to mind is someone who got syphillis from a sexual encounter.

The CDC is responsible for ensuring the health and safety of the entire population in this country and minimizing the likelihood for spread of this virus.  As such, additional conservatism is warranted in their recommendations.  Think of it this way.  If 50,000 people were infected with HIV in a given year and all used the 6 week testing window of 6 weeks (which say has a 99% accuracy), that would mean the 49,500 of these people would test positive.  But is also means that 500 could have tested negative, when in fact they were positive.  At 13 weeks the accuracy is something like 99.9%.  This would mean that the 13 week test would catch 450 of these 500 people.  So now only 50 people would be missed.  A 6 month test should catch all of these remaining 50 people.

The doctor is giving us advice for us to use in our decisions based on his vast knowledge and experience.  He has also stated on more than one occasion that he has never seen someone test negative at 6 weeks, but positive at a later period.  However, the final decision on testing is ours to make.  As an FYI, I tested negative at 8.5 weeks following a very low risk event, and my doctor wants me to wait 6 months for a follow-on test.  I have one more month to go.  He wants to be 100% certain that I am negative.  Other doctors go with a 99% or 99.9% certainty.

Anyway, that's my take on it.  If you have a low risk exposure event, I believe a 6 week test is adequate based on the information provided here and elsewhere.  However, some thought needs to be given to the testing procedures involved.  The Home Access system uses a first generation EIA, which they state will detect HIV antibodies about 5 to 10 days later than a third generation test.  To me this sounds about right.  This information was provided by the makers of this test kit and is given on thebody.com, under Understanding Yours Labs, dated July 11, 2001, under the title "home access test".
239123 tn?1267647614
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Needinput:  No, you do not need further testing.  

Dorky:  Joeworried has it right.  It's a question of odds; as well as the need for some info sources to cover their asses from a medicolegal standpoint, ie zero chance of lawsuit.  For more info from me, in addition to Joeworried's comments, search the threads for "time to positive HIV test".

HHH, MD
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