Anonymous
Hi,

I had a possible exposure scenario on the last week of January (2015). I've developed certain symptoms since then.

1) Sore throat (lasted a day or 2). It kept coming back every 10 days in march, each time lasting a day or 2. Haven't noticed anything since spring set in (Last week of March onwards).

2) Bleeding gums , ( diagnosed as Gingitivitis by a dentist) in last week of February. Has gone away after I got my teeth cleaned.

3) Joint pain on my knee caps and sometimes on my wrists and ankles. Swelling on my knee joints . (Since March 15th) . Did a complete blood work on recommendation of a rheaumatologist .Tested negative for rheaumatoid arthritis . Results for anti-extractable nuclear test yet to come. Water in both of my knee joints.

4) Weight loss- Lost 6 kgs between March 17 and April 9 ( 74 kg -> 68kg). No workout.

5) White patch on my penis. (since February) started using an anti-fungal cream (Suggested by infection specialist).

6) Mild reddish eyes since last 5-10 days (April 10-20).

I did a HIV seroconversion test on March 9th ( 44 days after exposure) . Came back negative. Tested for other STI's. All came back negative. Took a gonorhhea anti-biotic anyway ( March 7th). I'm gonna take my HIV test again on April 27th ( ~ 3 months past exposure).

Possible exposure - Unprotected oral sex ( receiving, though I had shaved the previous day- possible tiny cuts/wounds). Fingers.
No intercourse, possible penile contact with vagina when she was lying on me after she had ejaculated.

My question- How effective was my 44 day test (I think it was 4th generation test as prescribed in Quebec health rules?) ? My rheumatologist believes that I'm negative since my 44 day test was negative and my contact was low risk. But, I keep getting these symptoms nevertheless.
Is it possible for seroconversion to occur after 6-7 weeks? For a 3 month HIV test to turn positive after a negative test at 6 weeks?
What should I do if I keep getting these symptoms even after a negative 3 month HIV test?

Hoping for a response,
Concerned person.

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Anonymous
Hello and thank you for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Helpline. I am happy to answer your questions.

It sounds like you have a lot of concern regarding your testing results and symptoms. I will do my best to address these with the detailed information you have provided me.

You may be happy to learn that I would agree with your rheumatologist in that your exposure was low-risk. Receiving oral sex is considered to pose a negligible risk of transmission, meaning although it is theoretically possible, no cases have ever been reported from this type of exposure. Furthermore, the HIV virus dies when it is exposed to air. For this reason, your penis having possible contact with your partner's vagina, externally, would not be considered a risky activity.

In terms of your testing, if it was the 4th Generation EIA test, most specialists consider this "DUO" test conclusive after 6 weeks- which is when you received your test. However, official HIV testing guidelines still recommend re-testing after 12 weeks post-exposure to gain an accurate conclusive result. Since your situation was negligible-risk, further testing may not be required unless it would help to ease your concerns. If you have further questions about specific testing and options for you, I would encourage you to speak to your local healthcare professional.

If you are from Quebec (I inferred this from your original post), here is a resource you can use for further local information:
http://accmontreal.org/

With regards to tests results changing, the only reason an initial negative test would result in a positive one upon further testing would be because the original test was not within the appropriate window period (i.e. the person got tested too early for the test to properly detect the virus). There are also possibilities for false negatives or false positives to appear, but these are not seen in the majority of cases. In your case, since you took the 4th generation test, the likelihood of your results changing is greatly reduced considering you took the test following 6 weeks post-exposure. However, we would still recommend another test at 3 months.

Your symptoms seems to be bothering you. However, here at AIDS Vancouver we do not use symptoms to determine HIV status. This is because there are no clinically defined symptoms for HIV. This means that some people show them, others don't, and they often get confused with other illnesses like the flu. For this reason, you may wish to consider continuing to see healthcare professionals to get them checked out so you can start feeling better!

I hope that I have answered all of your great questions. If you have any more, please feel free to post on this forum again, call our Helpline confidentially at 604-253-0566 ext 299, or visit our website for further information at http://www.aidsvancouver.org.

Sincerely,

Caroline

Helpline Volunteer


AIDS Vancouver Helpline

604-253-0566 ext 299

Monday-Friday 10am- 4pm

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