Anonymous
Hi I am a 20 year old female who was at high risk to hiv. I had unprotected sex (vaginal and oral) everyday for 7 months. My partner is an immigrant from Africa and Britain. He lived in Nigeria until the age of 20 then moved to Britain until the age of 25 then moved to Los Angeles (where I met him). The last time I had sex with him was 9 months ago. For 9 months I've been having reoccurring yeast infection, sore throat, white coating on my tongue, nausea, and recently I've been getting painful and itchy rashes on my chest near my shoulders. I tested negative on hiv rapid tests twice and once on the 4th generation test. I know that some rare strains are not detected through these tests because of the region but I need to get tested for every possible strain even the most rare ones. What test detects all strains? Or what different tests can I take to make sure I tested for every single hiv 1 and 2 possible even the most rare ones. Please help me out because I'm going insane. I really need to be tested as soon as possible. My ex-partner also slept with many other immigrants from Africa, Russia, China, and maybe even more that I'm not aware about. A lot of the websites say that if you slept with an African immigrant you need additional testing but no one says what kind of test. I need to know the hiv tests name. Thank you.
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Anonymous
Hi there, thank you for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Helpline for HIV and AIDS related information.

I am sorry to hear you are experiencing so much stress related to HIV. Before I address testing and what options you may have there, I would like to start by addressing your symptoms. There are no clinically defined symptoms associated with HIV, the only way to determine if you are HIV positive or not is to be tested. You may have read about symptoms associated with HIV infection, however your symptoms would not fall into any of these categories. Some people do experience flu-like symptoms 2-6 weeks after infection but these last only 8-10 days, and not all people do experience these symptoms therefore they are not clinically associated with HIV. So try not to let your symptoms stress you out as they do not appear to be related to HIV, they could be caused by any number of things, even stress!

With respect to testing you ask a very good question. Firstly I should say good for you for getting yourself tested. Rapid tests and the 4th Generation tests are both very reliable and when taken over 3 months after your most recent high risk exposure they are considered to be conclusive. In case you are unaware, *when *you take a test in relation to your last high risk exposure is very important, most tests are unable to detect the HIV virus right after infection. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that all HIV tests are only considered absolutely conclusive at 3 months post exposure. I am not sure when you had your tests done, you may wish to consider when you had them done in relation to your last high risk exposure. Regarding the varying strains of HIV, [http://www.avert.org/hiv-types.htm](http://www.avert.org/hiv-types.htm) outlines all the subtypes and different strains of HIV. If you are concerned about some of the less common strains we would recommend that you partner with an expert in HIV, often your average family doctor will not be well versed in these rare strains: The best place to start would be to contact the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) at 1-800-232-4636. These strains are extremely rare and we typically do not consider them when providing testing information.

Keep in mind here that what has put you at risk for HIV is the action, namely the unprotected vaginal sex, and you should try not to concern yourself so much about the 'who'. Keep in mind that these substrains are extremely rare and standard HIV lines of testing do not even consider them. The three negative tests that you have received should really help put your mind at ease (assuming you took the tests well after your last exposure). Keep in mind also, that the symptoms that you are experiencing are no indication of your HIV status, they could be caused by any number of things! If you find that you continue to experience a high level of stress, you may wish to seek help from a counsellor or somebody who you feel comfortable talking to.

I hope that answers your questions and puts your mind more at ease. If you have any further questions please feel free to contact us again. Also feel free to let us know what you discover from the CDC, we would be curious to hear back from you!

In health,

Arne

AIDS Vancouver Helpline Volunteer
E-mail: helpline@aidsvancouver.org
Phone (Mon-Thurs 10am-4pm; Friday 10am-3pm): (604)253-0566 ext 299
Web: helpline.aidsvancouver.org



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