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Please Help!

Question: 

Hello, I need help. I was involved in a risk a few years ago. The only reason I was aware of this risk is because of the chronic diarrhea I've been getting. I did the rapid insti antibodies hiv 1-2 test at a clinic and there were no antibodies found. This test was done possibly a year and a half to two years after possible exposure. I'm thinking there were no antibodies present in the system or have disappeared. I also went in to a clinic for blood work but I haven't heard back from them in over a month and I'm getting really nervous because I don't know how long exactly before I would hear a response from the doctor. Do antibodies disappear and how long would I have heard from the doctor if something was present. Please help!

Answer: 

Hello there,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about the comprehensiveness of the results you received, following the test you received a year or two post exposure.

Generally, test results for HIV testing can take up to one or two weeks to receive back after laboratory testing is concluded (1). If HIV screening methods indicate a presence of antibodies, as a result of HIV infection in the body (also known as a reactive test or testing positive or HIV positive), a confirmatory test will then be administered (1). Because it has been over one month since you have heard from the health care facility in which you received testing there is a possibility that your results returned negative (non-reactive). However, to completely ensure this is the case, we recommend contacting the administering physician to confidently assure you of your status.

In regard to your question about HIV antibodies disappearing, please consider the following:

One or two weeks after initial exposure to HIV, antibodies to HIV antigens begin to appear in the blood, at concentrations which continue to increase for several more months. These antibodies persist for life, providing distinctive markers which can be identified by HIV screening tests (2).

In this case, if there was a presence of antibodies in the HIV test administered 1-2 years ago, they would still remain detectable in subsequent HIV testing methods.

Recommendation: Please refer to a physician for more personalised answers.

Best, AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Cody