« Go Back

Late seroconversion

Question: 

Hello team,
i had a very high risk exposure with a very promiscuos lady. A week later i had very strong flu like symptoms, and some persist till today (PGL, Joint pain(ankle and wrist).
However i have tested upto 12 weeks rapid test which was negative.
1. Are these test kits  reliable?(tridot,unigold,sd bioline) or am i a case of late seroconversion?
2. Do i need to test again after some weeks?

Answer: 

Hi there,
Thank you for using the AIDS Vancouver Online Helpline as your source of HIV/AIDS related information.
 
Before I being I just want to first mention that HIV does not discriminate against gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or occupation.  It is the activity you engage in, not the person you are with that determines your risk.
 
So far there are no clinically defined HIV symptoms for physicians to diagnose HIV. Although it is true that some people (but not all) may experience a strong flu-like illness 2-6 weeks after exposure, they would only have such experience for a few days up to a week. If "symptoms" still persist 12 weeks after the exposure, I would suggest you to speak to a medical professional to find out the cause.
 
According to many international guidelines, all HIV tests come conslusive at 12 weeks and no retest is necessary. May I ask if the rapid test was performed by a medical professional or by yourself at home? HIV tests performed by well-trained medical professionals are much more likely to generate reliable and accurate results than those performed at home. Plus, those medical professionals are the ones who can accompany you and provide support and information. If you had a home testing kit, I would strongly suggest you to get another HIV test at a testing site, regardless of your previous test result and your last exposure. It is more important to have a clear idea of your status. 
 
1. If your Rapid test was performed at a clinic, its result is then conclusive at 12 weeks. In fact, many international guildelines consider HIV tests conclusive at 12 weeks and no retest is necessary. A Rapid test detects HIV-specific antibodies and has a window period of 4-12 weeks. It can also detect up to 95% infections within 4-6 weeks since most people can develop antibodies within that time frame. Having that said, you are not in late seroconversion. Late seroconversion is more likely found in people living with immunodeficiency disorders (e.g. DiGeorge syndrome, Leukocyte adhesion defects, Job syndrome), under-going HCV treatment or on Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). Even a test result at 12 weeks is a good indicator for those people, along with a final test for confirmation at 24 weeks. Thus, if you are not in those categories, your test result at 12 weeks is conclusive.
 
2. If your Rapid test was performed at a testing site or a clinic, no retest is required. However, as I mentioned before, home-testing kit is not a reliable way to detect your status, I would strong suggest you to retest at a testing site or a clinic later in the future. 
 
I hope I have addressed your concerns. Please feel free to wrtie us back at anytime. Remember, your life is not all about your status. 
 
In Health,
Tina
AIDS Vancouver Helpline Volunteer
E-mail: helpline@aidsvancouver.org
Phone (Mon-Fri 9-4pm): (604) 696-4666
Web: www.aidsvancouver.org/helpline
 

//00