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Should I continue to be worried? HIV test 6 weeks post exposure (Oraquick oral)

Question: 

Hi Im a 21 Year old male who had unprotected vaginal sexual intercourse with a girl I just had met. Her status was unknown and I instantly became very worried of HIV because it seems she was very promiscuous. At about 3 weeks I developed a minor sore throat that went away within a few days, a pimple maybe cold sore on my lip also that went away within a week. I started to develop headaches at about 5 weeks and another minor sore throat post exposure and decided to get tested at 37 days post exposure (Oraquick mouth swab test) and it was negative. I was relieved and the headaches kept coming and I began to get chills (may have been due to anxiety?) but no fever or rash. So I took another test at 43 days after exposure (about 6 weeks) it was the same oraquick mouth swab test. Then just today about 45 days post exposure I felt one sore swollen lymph node in my right groin area. Could this lymph node swelling be due to me Spraining my right ankle three days ago? I sprained my ankle pretty badly playing basketball (Bruised swollen a little). Should I continue to be worried about HIV or is my 6 week test conclusive enough? Do lymph nodes begin to swell up 6 weeks post exposure? please someone help my anxiety is through the roof.

Answer: 

Hello,

Thank you for using the AIDS Vancouver Helpline as your source for HIV/AIDS related information.

There are no definite symptoms related to HIV, and therefore testing is the only way to know one's status. Headaches, chills, and sore throats may really be due to stress and anxiety, so if you continue to experience these symptoms we encourage you to see a doctor. Regarding swollen lymph nodes, some people with HIV may have swollen lymph nodes while others may not. Just any other symptoms you are currently feeling, they may be due to other causes than HIV and will not affect the results of HIV tests.

It is great to hear that you are concerned for your well-being and got your testing done. Unprotected vaginal sexual intercourse does pose a high risk of HIV transmission as this activitiy involves an exchange of body fluids. Most people develop detectable antibodies in 21-25 days, which would have been picked up by your rapid test at 43 days. Your test results at 6 weeks are highly unlikely to change, however, as Canadian and international guidelines dictate that all tests are conclusive at 84 days or 12th week, we suggest you be re-tested at 3 months for a conclusive result. Until then, we encourage you to practise self-care to help ease your anxiety, and to see a doctor if the symptoms continue. We also recommend all sexually active individuals to use condoms and water based lubricants for all sexual encounters and receive regular testing for all sexually transmitted infections.

I hope you found this answer to be helpful. Please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions or concerns.

Hani