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FEAR OF HIV INFECTION AFTER EXPOSURE

Question: 

Hi, Thank you for this plateform. I had sex with a lady i met on a trip however without a condom. The next day i realized i have been stupid. same week after the exposure i experienced about 2 weeks dryness in my mouth and loss of energy with headaches. six weeks down the line i experienced rashes which are smallish and looks like pimples on my face and chest and arms. I am in the seventh week (50 days) and still having the rash on my face, neck and chest (scattered).

I tested on the sixth week (rapid test) and it was negative. What is the chance of positive HIV on the 12th week? are my symptoms an indication of HIV infection?

Please assist.

Answer: 

Hi there and thank you for reaching out to AIDS Vancouver with your questions! We're happy to help.

Having unprotected sex is considered a High Risk activity. It's great that you took the initiative to get tested, as that's the only reliable way to be sure of your HIV status.

We tend to avoid talking about HIV in relation to symptoms since they're vague and mimic many other viral infections such as the flu. We encourage testing over discussing symptoms, to determine HIV status. Great job on taking the initiative to get an early test, as it's a great indication of your actual HIV status. Typically, HIV symptoms do not persist for an extended period of time, so it's unlikely that the symptoms you describe are attributed to HIV infection. However, if the symptoms continue to bother you, I suggest you partner with a health care professional to try to determine other possible (non HIV) causes of them.

Most people develop detectable antibodies within 21-25 days post exposure. This means that at 6 weeks, your test is fairly accurate, in fact, between 4-6 weeks post exposure, the rapid tests are described as being ~95% accurate. This means that the result is unlikely to change by 12 weeks. Regardless, we suggest getting a follow-up 12 week test as conformation of your negative status.

I hope this helped! For more information about HIV transmission and testing, please visit avert.org.

Sincerely,

Christina

AIDS Vancouver Online Helpline

helpline.aidsvancouver.org

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