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HIV RNA

Question: 

I am from a poor country in the middle east where they don't know a lot about HIV and i couldn't found any experts in this career in my country to talk with.

I had Unprotected sex with a sex worker 4 months ago outside the country. i called the girl asked her if she have HIV she answered that she isn't but when i asked her if she tested before , she told me that she never tested before for HIV.

I had all ARS during this 4 months .

I took an HIV antibody test for every 5 days and all came back negative till now ( maybe my HIV test is 2nd generation because event in the lab they don't know about the test generation and they even don't know if is for HIV 1 & 2 or no )

i asked and read a lot of information on the internet and what i found that 97 % will test positive during the first 3 months and the rest 3% at 6 months.

I tested negative for HIV antibody test at 120 days ( ( maybe my HIV test is 2nd generation because even in the lab they don't know about the test generation and they even don't know if is for HIV 1 & 2 or no )

My doctor ( all doctors in my country ) asked me to retest at 6 months.

DR.David Wohl from the THE BODY website , i am sure u know him ,told me for security and peace of mind get tested at 6 months.

After that finally i found a lab who do HIV RNA test in my country i did the test and the result was : less than 16 ( The patient is below detection limit of the kit).

i can't wait another 2 months in this situation i need to get back to my normal life .

1-Do you think an " HIV - Rna quantitative By Tagman Prob " test know can be the bottom line for this situation at the 125 days ? and this is the only RNA test that i found after 4 months searching.

2-What do you know about the 3 % who test positive at 6 months. ??

3-What is the window period for the 2nd generation antibody test ??

Answer: 

Hello and thank you for using the AIDS Vancouver Helpline as your source of HIV/AIDS related information.

It is important to remember that having unprotected sex one time does not guarantee an HIV infection. However, you may wish to use a condom next time, as this greatly reduces the risk of HIV/STI transmission.

I am sorry to hear that you experienced uncomfortable symptoms during the 4 months since your exposure. While it may be human nature to attempt to link these with a particular infection or diagnosis, it is important not to do this with HIV infection. This is because not all individuals experience symptoms at all, and the HIV virus mimics many other types of infections. Testing is the only way to know for sure if you are living with HIV, which you did!

We encourage individuals to not do research on the internet as it is an unmoderated environment where anyone can post anything. Here at the Helpline we provide the following information regarding accuracy of antibody testing: 4-6 weeks from exposure 95% of infections will be picked up, and at and after 12 weeks the accuracy is 99.8%.

The Helpline follows BCCDC guidelines for HIV testing, meaning a conclusive test is one performed at or after the 3 month (84 day) mark. Different countries and health care professionals may recommend testing up to the 6 month mark. However, our guidelines serve us well, as we have never seen anyone test negative during the window period and subsequently test positive at or after the 3 month mark.

Now I will attempt to answer your questions in the order you presented:

1) Your RNA test at 125 days was not necessary (and maybe expensive?) You can trust your antibody test at 120 days.

2) Sometimes the HIV window period may be extended up to 6 months in these circumstances: an individual having a pre-existing immunodeficiency disorder (usually diagnosed in infancy, you would know if you had one already), undergoing PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis) to prevent an HIV infection, undergoing treatment for Hepatitis C, or having chemotherapy.

3)If the test was indeed 2nd generation, you still have nothing to worry about. The primary difference between a 3rd Generation and 2nd Generation test is how soon it can detect HIV. With a 3rd Generation test, almost all HIV infections are detectable in 4-6 weeks, with a 2nd Generation test (as you mentioned) detects most infection in 6-8 weeks.

In conclusion, you are conclusively negative for HIV and there is no need for further testing at this time!

Thank you for your question and please don’t hesitate to contact us in the future.

Elyse