Anonymous
Dear reader

I recently took a blood test for a general check up and my HIV test results came back as borderline .

- I am 22 / Female
- Never had a sexual relationship with a man
- Never used toys ( dildos, etc )
- Never injected drugs or shared needles ( i smoke marijuana on daily basis but nothing else, not even cigarettes)
- I had unprotected Oral sex with 2 girls . One of them 1 year ago and the other one 3 months ago (both claimed to be healthy)
- I had a Flu shot 3 months ago
- Around 2 months ago i had Herpes on my lip for the first time but applied antibiotics on it so it went away quickly ( i guess i got that from a friend who i shared a Marijuana role with and after i saw she had the herpes on her lip )
- I have a tattoo and its 1 year old, it was done in a hygienic manner
- Currently i was diagnosed with having a urinary infection, but i don't have the symptoms so my Dr told me to retake the urine test
- My White blood cells count is 8200
- The only sickness i had experienced in the past year was a tommy flu ( last week and a lot of people in my university have it now )

since i didn't expect to have HIV at all the borderline result really terrified me and now i'm waiting for my PCR test results.
- What causes a borderline test results / what does it mean /?
- Given my condition, how reliable my test results are going to be please ?
- on the other hand this situation has caused me a lot of stress and all of this is happening while i am on my PMS, i can't sleep properly or eat properly. my heart rate average in the past 5 days is 98 while usually its on 65-70 . Could you maybe suggest a way that can help me reduce my anxiety please ?
- Can any of the factors mentioned above ( Flu shot, Herpes, Marijuana, alcohol, urinary infection) manipulate my test results both PCR and ELISA 3rd generation ?

- Which test is the most accurate one for detecting HIV after all ( amongst all the testing methods existing) ? as my research shows they all can be wrong for so many reasons ! How can i finally know if i have it or not ?

Thank you for your time .
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Anonymous
Hi there, Thanks for contacting the AIDS Vancouver helpline with your HIV related questions and concerns. We're happy to help!!

I understand that the process of testing can be concerning, but hopefully my answer will help to ease some of your worries.

I first want to outline the risk levels of the activities that you were engaging in. The only activities you described that have any risk for HIV transmission are the unprotected oral sex activities. That being said, there is not a high risk associated with these! Giving oral sex is considered a Low Risk Activity, which means that although there have been a few reports of infection attributed to this manner, they're usually under certain identifiable conditions, such as having major wounds in your mouth from a recent dental surgery. Typically, the mouth isn't a point of infection for HIV since saliva contains an enzyme to help break down viruses and bacteria. Receiving oral sex is considered a Negligible Risk activity, which means that although in theory this is possible, there hasn't been a single reported case of infection this way in BC.

Considering how low your risk levels were to begin with, testing may not have even been warranted for HIV. Further, your last sexual encounter was 3 months ago. All HIV tests are conclusive 3 months post exposure, meaning that any HIV test you would do know would be considered conclusive, and you wouldn't need any further testing.

Regarding the test results that you're describing as "borderline", it is difficult for me to make claims about this since I don't know exactly what test was done with your blood. HIV tests, however, are either reactive or non-reactive, there is no borderline option. The only exception to this is the Western Blot test which is usually done as a confirmatory test for positive results, which isn't the case for you. This test either comes back positive, or indeterminate. I would suggest talking to your doctor to find out if this was the test that was conducted, because if so, then that makes sense as to where the "borderline" label came from.

If not, since you're past the 3 month mark, any HIV test you take will be conclusive, so when your PCR and ELISA 3rd generation tests come back, you can take that result as being accurate, and you will not require any further testing! I suggest discussing these results with your doctor!

None of the factors you mentioned will have any result on your HIV tests result, so there's no need to worry about that. I am sorry that you've been feeling anxious, but just bear in mind that your risk level was very low to begin with, and if in fact it was a western blot test that was conducted, and indeterminate result points towards a negative result. I suggest that you just await your current test results, as those will be conclusive and then you can put this behind you.

All HIV tests are accurate for detecting HIV. The only one we don't recommend is home rapid tests, as doing tests yourself without proper training can result in human error.

Please feel free to write back with more information about the test where you received the "Borderline" result, and I'd be happy to help you further!

I hope this helped! Please check out our website and avert.org for more accurate HIV info!

Sincerely,

Christina

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online

Monday-Friday 9am-5pm (PST)

1 844 INFO-HIV (Toll free Canada & U.S.)

helpline@aidsvancouver.org

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