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HIV Infection

Question: 

Hi There,

I have been to a lady a month back. I am little worried of myself now. What I did is I rubbed my penis on her vagina and while rubbing I inserted the tip of my penis and suddenly i realized and took off. Wore condom that had sex. But m still worried if I can get HIV transmitted. Since she was an unknown lady i am not sure of her. status. Please advice me. Thanks

Answer: 

Thank you for reaching out to AIDS Vancouver. It sounds like you're a bit concerned about acquiring HIV. I hope the following information will help you understand your situation a bit better.

I'm not going to sugar-coat it: Even though it was only brief, the activity you described is considered unprotected vaginal sex, which is a HIGH RISK activity. This means that studies have repeatedly associated unprotected vaginal sex with HIV infection. But that does not mean every person who has unprotected vaginal sex will acquire HIV.

The only way to know whether you acquired HIV is to go for testing, and we strongly encourage you to get tested ASAP. If you are in Canada, you can find a testing site near you at this website. If you're in the US, here's a similar website.

Finally, one note on timing. HIV tests typically become highly accurate 4-6 weeks post-exposure (I'll include some more information about common testing methods below). So if you had sex with this woman about a month ago, you ought to be able to get a test result that will give you a good indication of your status. That said, following British Columbia Centre for Disease Control protocols, we do not consider HIV tests to be conclusive until they are taken 12 weeks post-exposure. So your best bet is to get tested now and to plan on getting retested at 12 weeks.

I know this is probably not what you wanted to hear, but I hope this information helps you understand your situation a bit better so you can figure out your next steps.

Here's the information I mentioned about HIV tests:

Test Name
Method
Window Period
Conditions
Enzyme Immunoassay Antibody (EIA) 3rd Generation (ELISA) Blood test that looks for antibodies. Up to 95% of infections are detectable within 4-6 weeks post exposure. Most people develop detectable antibodies in 21-25 days. Most commonly available testing method. Conclusive at 3 months post exposure.
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Rapid or “Point-of-Care” Blood or oral swab test that looks for antibodies. Up to 95% of infections are detectable within 4-6 weeks post exposure. Most people develop detectable antibodies in 21-25 days. The rapid test is a type of 3rd Generation test. Two forms available: finger prick blood sample or oral swab. Oral swab test is most common in the U.S. but due to false positives in Canada it is not approved and blood collection is more likely. Many places in the U.S. and abroad may charge a fee for rapid testing. Conclusive at 3 months post exposure.
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Pooled RNA NAAT or “Early Test” Detects viral RNA in blood of people who have yet to develop detectable antibody levels. 10-12 days post exposure The pooled RNA test is often expensive and not readily available. One must be referred by a health care professional to receive this test. An antibody follow up test after 12 weeks is sometimes necessary depending on how long after the exposure the test was performed. Conclusive at 3 months post exposure.
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P24 Antigen The antigen on HIV that most commonly provokes an antibody response is the protein P24. This test looks for this protein. ONLY within first few weeks after infection. Once the body starts producing antibodies, the antigen is no longer detectable. This test is part of the 4th Generation EIA test, which most specialists agree is conclusive at 6 weeks. Official guidelines recommend re-testing at 12 weeks with an antibody test. Accuracy: see 4th Generation EIA tests.
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4th Generation EIA Blood test that looks for antibodies AND p24 protein antigens. Commonly referred to as the "combination," "combo" or "DUO" test. P24 protein is detectable immediately after infection but only for the first few weeks. The antibody (ab) test has a window period of 4-12 weeks post exposure. This test is widely available in North America. Most HIV specialists consider this test to be conclusive at 6 weeks but official HIV testing guidelines still recommend re-testing at 12 weeks for conclusive results. Conclusive at 3 months post exposure.
Home Testing Oral swab or finger prick blood test. Unknown Home testing is not approved for use in Canada and is not endorsed by AIDS Vancouver. Home testing frequently results in false positives and negatives and does not provide an opportunity for pre- and post-test counselling.

Yours in health,

Matt, Helpline Volunteer

AIDS Vancouver Online Helpline
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