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4th generation tested I'm HIV positive

Question: 

Hi there,

I hope you may help me out with this because the result came out that I'm HIV positive is freaking me out.
The last time I had sex it was mid of March , I went to get tested for HIV, (it's 4th generation test) , within 15 mins it results positive. Right now, doctor sent my blood for a western Blot test. Throughout the month , I've got flu and feverish, as well as got some rashes on my skin (doctors says its eczema)I just want to know what are the obvious signs and symptoms during the first few months after you get exposed to HIV. And could it be a false positive on my 4th generation test?

Answer: 

Thank you for contacting AIDS Vancouver. Having an HIV test come back positive is very distressing for most people, and it sounds like you're having some difficulty dealing with the uncertainty as you wait for your confirmatory test results. I hope the following information will help you understand the situation you're in and provide some resources to help you take care of yourself as you await your test results.

To start off with, I urge you to avoid the temptation to look at your symptoms as an indication of your HIV status. Symptoms are an incredibly unreliable way of diagnosing HIV. Someone could have HIV without noticing any symptoms initially, and someone could have the symptoms you described and still not have HIV. The only way to diagnose HIV reliably is by taking an HIV test administered by a trained health care provider.

So let's talk about the tests you've taken.

You said the first test you took came back reactive. It is possible that it is a false positive, which is presumably why your doctor had you take a Western Blot test. Western Blots are much less likely to return a false positive result, and are considered the gold standard for confirmatory tests. In BC, it is standard procedure to get a Western Blot test if someone comes back with a positive test results from another kind of test.

Unfortunately, it can take a number of weeks to get the results of a Western Blot test. And I'm sure waiting for those results can be agonizing.

If you are still "freaking out," you might want to talk to your doctor about your distress, or else contact a local AIDS Service Organization (ASO) or HIV testing site. ASOs and testing sites typically would be able to connect you with trained counselors or mental health professionals who can help you manage your emotions during this stressful time. If you are in Canada, you can find a local ASO at http://aso411.ca/. If you're in the US, a similar site is: https://gettested.cdc.gov/.

I hope this information has helped you understand your situation a bit better.

Yours in health,

Matt, Volunteer
AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online
helpline.aidsvancouver.org