Hi dear Sir/Mamm,

Please help me solve the mysterious symptoms I've been going through for almost a month. I first started to feel gum hurting and a dry mouth on the 27th of May, the next day I started to have thrush on my tongue. I was so scared that this could be an indication of HIV infection. Since I've given oral sex to the same guy two and a half years, and also nine months ago. I went to my routine physical exam on the 28th, did a complete check on most body parts, CTs, x-rays and Blood tests all came out normal.

I went to a clinic to seek help for the thrush on May 31. The doctor examined my mouth and gave me a throat culture test which was NEGATIVE. He then expressed concerns on my immune system, suggesting me to take an HIV + STDs test, which I did. He also asked about my white blood cell levels, which I know is normal from the physical exam I took a few days before.

The next few days waiting for the results were like hell to me. My stomach started to make sounds the night I went back from the clinic, and I had diarrhea for a day after that. Also felt fatigue sometimes and my dry mouth and oral thrush keeps getting worse, the anti-fungal medicine my doctor prescribed didn't help at all.

On June 3rd, I finally got my test results, everything came back NEGATIVE. But I didn't feel relieved because I'm still having the oral thrush, and it seemed have spread to my throat since I feel a bit pain when swallowing food.

I went to the clinic again on June 5th in search for the cause of my persisting thrush, and why I keep developing symptoms that are very close to hiv infection. The doctor reassured me that my previous test results are accurate since it was a 4th GEN AT/AG test. But I was still concerned since they didn't do the test in house; they drew my blood and sent the samples to a lab for the test. I worried that the results could've been wrong due to lab errors or mistakes made through this process. The doctor said I can get a rapid finger prick test on-site to give myself a peace of mind. I did, and the result is also NEGATIVE. The doctor then concluded that the thrush might be a result of antibiotics I took for a week after my wisdom teeth removal on May 14th.

Now more than a week after that, my thrush started to fade, but there still is quite a bit of thrush at the end of my tongue. I started to find rashes on my chest, my back and on my arms. Yesterday I woke up with a sore throat and a weird brownish red mark on my right arm. I experienced some mild fever last night and today, and the sore throat continues to bother me. My stomach still makes noises, I tend to get marks on my skin easily and sometimes my muscles sours for no reason.


I know I probably seem really paranoid, but is there a chance that I was at the late stage of an infection so the test couldn't find any antibodies? (I asked this since I read thrush is a symptom mostly occurring on late-stage patients.)

Or could it be some kind of new string of virus that the tests couldn't detect? And how likely could the clinic have messed up my test results?

Is it necessary for me to get tested again using methods that look for the virus directly? Like RNA or viral load tests? Is it necessary to get a CD4/CD8 count too to rule out any other immune system diseases?

I'd be really grateful if you could answer my concerns since they've been bothering me so much!!
Hi there and thanks for reaching out to the AIDS Vancouver Helpline. My name is Colin and I am happy to answer your questions today.

I understand you are concerned about the accuracy of your HIV test results in the face of ongoing symptoms you've been experiencing. I hope the information I can provide will help put your mind at ease.

Right away I can tell you that it doesn't sound to me like there is any reason to doubt the conclusive results of your HIV tests. All commonly available HIV tests are considered conclusive at or after 3 months post-exposure. Because this timing is well after your most recent exposure nine months ago, every test you've taken since should be considered conclusive for that encounter. the Fourth Generation combo test that your doctor administered on you is also considered the most modern and sensitive test commonly available today and not only does it give conclusive results faster (as soon as 6 weeks post-exposure) but it is sensitive to a wide spectrum of HIV subtypes including HIV-1 and HIV-2 and all the most common subtypes of each. Essentially if you have not traveled to west-central Africa or had high risk contact with people from that region, there is no reason to doubt that a Fourth Generation test would detect any type of HIV you would be most likely to encounter.

With regards to your specific questions at the end of your post, the longer you potentially have an infection (in this case HIV), there will only be more and more antibodies for the test to detect, not less. Perhaps you were thinking of antigens which are viral proteins which do disappear from blood tests within a few weeks of exposure. Though that is the case, the great thing about the Fourth Generation combo test is that it searches for the HIV antigen (called P24) as well as your body's HIV-antibodies. This means that the test can cover the widest time span with the most accuracy to give you the fastest test results.

At this point, it would seem that your results are accurate and can be tested and I would recommend continuing to partner with your doctor to treat your symptoms as they come. If you are continuing to feel anxious and think another HIV test would help put your mind at ease, there is no reason to not re-test; however it seems to me that the results up to this point should be considered conclusive and can be trusted.

I hope I managed to answer your questions today. Please feel free to post again if you'd like any more information or clarification.

All the best,




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