Anonymous
Thanks to you guys and a recent visit to my doctor, I was feeling great about my negative test results. I engaged in mutual masturbation with another male several times. I am certain precum and cum were exchanged. I tested 6 times...last time was 14 months after last encounter with this man. All tests were negative. Still convinced I was having symptoms, I went to my doctor. He assured me I was negative and had nothing to worry about and never needed to test again. Today, however, I was reading some articles on The Body's site - great source for safe sex info and stuff like that- can't remember the official name of site...it's the one that has some doctors and other experts on it...You probably know which one I mean. Anyhow, I came across this quote, "testing at 3 and 6 months will detect almost all hiv infections. However, there are NO guarantees when a person will produce enough antibodies to be detected by an HIV test". You can't even imagine the anxiety this has started in me again...does this mean there is NEVER a time when one can be sure he doesn't have hiv?? My doctor assured me I'd never have to test/worry again unless I engaged in risky behavior. Now, it seems as if that's not the case based on this quote. I'm scared to death all over again and again, it seems as if I'll never be able to NOT worry and that for anyone, not just me, there's never actually a time when you can consider tests results conclusive. Is this the case? Please help! I'm praying I misunderstood the quote, but when it's right there in print, it's a bit hard to ignore. It just seems awful that one can never absolutely know! Thanks in advance'
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Anonymous
Hi there,

I would also add to Hani's answer that the quote you read: "testing at 3 and 6 months will detect almost all hiv infections. However, there are NO guarantees when a person will produce enough antibodies to be detected by an HIV test" is OUTDATED INFORMATION. At AIDS Vancouver, we follow World Health Organization Guidelines that say that HIV test results are considered accurate, reliable and conclusive at 3 months (but don't take our word for it- check it out here: http://www.who.int/hiv/abouthiv/en/fact_sheet_hiv.htm). After three months, those test results will NOT change. The only time people need to test up to 6 months is if they have undergone chemotherapy, have accessed PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis), are on treatment for Hep C or have immuno-deficiency syndrome (i.e. Crohn's disease).

Best

Maggie

AIDS Vancouver Volunteer


Hello there!

Thank you for using AIDS Vancouver Helpline as your source for HIV/AIDS related information.

There are no definite symptoms related to HIV. Some people who have HIV may live for years without experiencing any symptoms, so the presence of symptoms is not necessarily related to effects of the virus or the antibodies fighting the virus. HIV is diagnosed through test results, not through the presence of symptoms. Therefore, testing is the only way to know one's status.

That being said, all tests are accurate, reliable, and sensitive. If you have acquired HIV and the virus is in your system, the body will produce detectable antibodies to combat the infection. HIV cannot lie dormant or hide, and the antibodies will always be present for someone living with HIV. It is not possible for HIV antibodies to be undetectable with an HIV test even a year after the point of infection. The only cases in which delay or suppression of antibody production could occur are if you have taken PEP, if you are taking medication for Hepatitis C, if you are undergoing treatment for cancer, or if you have a pre-existing immunodeficiency that would have been diagnosed in childhood. In such cases, testing at six months post-exposure is recommended for a conclusive result. However, if you do not fall into any of these categories, testing at three months post exposure are absolutely conclusive.

Therefore, unless you have engaged in high-risk activities for HIV transmission during the interim, your test results at 14 months post-exposure are definitely conclusive. Rest assured, you have not acquired HIV. We recommend you trust these results, as well as your doctor's professional opinion. We also recommend all sexually active individuals to practice safe sex (through condoms and water-based lubricants) and receive regular testing for all sexually transmitted infections (including but not limited to HIV) annually, bi-annually, or every few months depending on their schedule.

I hope this answers your question. Please feel free to contact us again if you have further concerns.

Hani
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