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Negative rapid antibodies test and negative PCR, Should I be relieved ?

Question: 

Dears,
I felt the symptoms of HIV after having a 'protected' sex with a sex worker
My main noticeable symptom was a white tongue with red dots on it

I was really anxious and frightened, so I went to STD clinic

I had a rapid antibodies test (got the results after 20 minutes) and the result was negative
This test was 17 days after exposure, and the doctor told me that I got Chlamydia and told me to take azithromycin as one dose

I did so but the symptoms didn't go away as I still felt a muscle pain and flu-like symptoms except for fever

So I decided to take a PCR test at the 24 days mark after the exposure
and today the test result came as negative (cp/ml <50)

So my question, Should be relieved ?
I slept with my wife also (please don't judge me) and I'm really scared that I infected her

Are these tests reliable or not ?

Thanks a lot.

Answer: 

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

First of all, I'd just like to let you know that the risk level for protected sex (with a condom) is Low Risk. This means that although there have been a few cases of transmission in this manner, they're usually under certain identifiable conditions. In the case of protected sex, a condition would be if the condom broke. If the condom remained intact, your risk is greatly diminished.

17 days is a little bit soon for an antibody test, however, most people do develop antibodies that are detectable by 21 days, so it's possible that the test was accurate. That being said, the only way to confirm your negative status is to get tested again at 12 weeks post exposure, as this is the conclusive window for HIV tests. The PCR test was likely more accurate than the antibody test, as the virus is detectable within the first few weeks post exposure. Again, you need to confirm the negative result with another test at 12 weeks post exposure.

I hope this helped! For more information about HIV transmission and testing, please visit avert.org. Additionally, please visit smartsexresource.com for more information on how to best protect yourself during sex!

Sincerely,

Christina

AIDS Vancouver Online Helpline

helpline.aidsvancouver.org

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