Anonymous
Hi,

I had a possible exposure with an individual who's HIV status is unkown. We rubbed the heads of our penises together which I know is not usually a risky activity but I am uncircumcised and have heard that HIV can enter the body through the foreskin (he didn't ejaculate on my foreskin but there could have been precum). I was worried about the incident so I had a 4th Generation Duo Test at 3 weeks and again at 6 weeks after the incident, both of which came back negative. While I know repeat testing should be done at 12 weeks I have read that many HIV experts consider a test at 6 weeks to be conclusive and that a negative test at this time is a strong indication of a negative status.

However, I am currently on the immunosuppressant imuran for an autoimmune disease. I have read that sometimes immunosuppressants can delay the ability of a test to report an HIV infection, but was wondering if that only applies to antibody tests. Would an immunosuppressant have any affect on the antigen aspect of the duo test? I just wanted to know whether this test at 6 weeks is a strong indication of a negative status for me or not. Thanks.
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Anonymous
Hi there,

Thank you for choosing the AIDS Vancouver Helpline as your source of information.

It is important to understand how HIV is transmitted. HIV transmission requires all of the following:

1. Body fluids containing high levels of HIV, e.g. blood, semen, and vaginal/rectal secretions,

2. A high-risk activity, e.g. unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse or the sharing of needles, and

3. Direct access of HIV-containing fluids into the bloodstream, e.g. through the vagina, anus, mucus membranes, or points of needle injection.

4. A controlled environment, which means no exposure to the air. Activities like unprotected sex or the sharing of needles are high risk activities since they don't involve any exposure to the air, while activities like mutual masturbation or frottage are negligible to no-risk activities since they involve full exposure to the air.

Rubbing of the penises is considered a negligible activity, risk wise; there has never been a reported case of HIV transmission occurring this way. This has to do with the fact that when HIV is exposed to air, it is no longer transmittable. You being uncircumcised is insignificant in this case.

Regardless of the medication you're on, if you have an immunodeficiency disease, you should get retested at 6 months post possible exposure (instead of the 3 months).

As far as our knowledge goes, immunosuppressants don't affect the results of HIV tests, including antibody tests.

For further questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to a public health professional in your area.

In health,

Moe- AIDS Vancouver Helpline Volunteer
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