Anonymous
11 weeks ago I had sex with a CSW. We kissed and had penetrative sex with a condom which never broke. I started to freak out because when i saw the condom package it seemed the expire date had been erased and I think the CSW did this because condoms were expired or something. Anyways, 7 weeks 1/2 after the incident I took and INSTI HIV antibody test by Biolytical Canada which was NEGATIVE. 9 weeks 1/2 after the incident I took a CMIA test in a laboratory (vein puncture) which says NEGATIVE, however i dont know what this test is since it only says negative. This Friday is 12 weeks, and I have a general annual checkup which incudes the same CMIA HIV test, but im scared it could turn out positive. My doctor says he has never seen 6 week+ negative HIV test change to positive at 12 weeks, and that my 9 1/2 week results will not change but for the past days I had a very strong headache and flu like symptoms (nose congestion) and I read online that a flu vaccine might cause false positives in an HIV test (I am not sure if this argument is related to the vaccine itself or to anyone who might test while having a flu) . Would it be ok to test again if I had a cold/flu (DID NOT TAKE A FLU SHOT) or this might give me a false positive and I would have to wait until testing again?
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Anonymous
Hello and thank you for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Helpline. We are happy to help answer your questions.

You seem very worried about re-testing for HIV at 3 months post-exposure, and noticed you have received several HIV antibody tests during the correct window periods so far. We want to let you know that 95% of infection are detected by antibody tests between 4 and 6 weeks post-exposure, so the indications of your status you have received so far (at 7.5 weeks/9.5 weeks post-exposure) are actually quite strong. Additionally, over 99% of individuals who have acquired HIV are detected by antibody tests within 3 months post-exposure (in BC) so, it seems very unlikely that the indication of your status will change in the future, with no additional exposures.

Additionally, engaging in sexual activity with a commercial sex worker does not necessarily put you at a greater risk of acquiring HIV. We noticed that you mentioned the condom *did not break*, and that is good news because, the expiry date only indicates the time at which the quality of the condom is no longer guaranteed. The condom may be *more likely* to break after the time indicated by the expiry date, but in the exposure you have described, *the condom did not break*. Knowing that the condom did not break, and that you are not living with another STI, engaging in protected sexual intercourse with a commercial sex worker can be considered a no-risk activity.

None of the situations you have described would affect the window period of an HIV test. Check out our website for more information about the only [4 situations](http://helpline.aidsvancouver.org/question/gangbang-bareback) that may affect the window period of an HIV test. Additionally, symptoms are not a reliable indicator of whether or not an individual has acquired HIV. We may suggest continuing to partner with your healthcare professional to find out how to treat the symptoms you are experiencing, and to achieve conclusive HIV test results. The results of your HIV test can be considered conclusive in BC, at 3 months post-exposure or later.

I trust we have answered your questions and thank you for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Helpline.

Sincerely,

Marta

AIDS Vancouver Volunteer

AIDS Vancouver Online Helpline

Monday to Friday 10AM to 4PM (PST)

1-604-253-0566 ext 299

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