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Hep-C treatment and HIV Window Period

Question: 

Hello,

I was engaged in a potential risk situation of HIV 4 months ago. I got tested with 4th generation tests at 29 and 86 days post exposure, both were negative. But I had Hep-C 5 years ago and was treated for 6 months at that time. My LFT as of now is normal.
I read on this site that HIV window period is 6 months if you are under treatment of Hep-c but it does not state anything about if the person has taken treatment in the past for Hep-C and has chronic hep-c but that is controlled now. Would the same rule apply to me?
My second question is about antigens. Do they appear just before seroconversion or they definitely appear at 3-8 weeks post exposure?

I had many symptoms after the exposure and currently I have occasional mild pains in groin and behind the ears. I also get folliculitis type pimples on and off. Are these symptoms associated with HIV. If the symptoms are there then why would the antibodies not be produced? Is the HIV virus silently sitting somewhere in body and struggling with Hep-c virus and will eventually form antibodies at 6 months or so?

I wish I had studied medicine to understand what is actually happening, please help!

Answer: 

Hi there, thanks for contacting the AIDS Vancouver helpline with your Questions. We're happy to help!

1) The 6 month rule only applies to current treatment for Hepatitis C. This is because of the way the drugs affect your immune system. Once you're off the drugs, the rule no longer applies. So your tests are conclusive! The rule doesn't apply to you.

2) Antigens are present on the virus, so they appear immediately after exposure for the first few weeks. Antibodies, on the other hand, occur during and after sero conversion, so from about 2-3 weeks after exposure onwards.

The symptoms you describe are not associated with HIV. Additionally, we try not to talk about symptoms in relation to HIV, since they tend to be very vague and mimic many other viral infections like the flu. Additionally, symptoms only typically occur 2-6 weeks post exposure, and for a short amount of time. Ongoing symptoms are not consistent with HIV. Test results are the only way to be certain about HIV status, so great job on going and getting tested! Tests are conclusive at 12 weeks post exposure (84 days) so your tests are indeed conclusive! congratulations.

No, the Hep C virus will not affect production of antibodies towards HIV. your test results are conclusive!

I hope this helped!

Sincerely, Christina