HIV Prevention and Testing > Am I Infected?

Instant test was reactive... Waiting game.

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Here is where I stand. I'm a gay male, almost 41.

On Feb 10th, I had some flu like symptoms, a lot of body ache, low fever, headaches, my back was extremely sensitive to the touch (even my shirt felt like sand paper when rubbing against it). On Feb 12th I woke up feeling "better", no fever. Yet when I went to brush my teeth I noticed a rash all over my face (I was just covered), going down my neck. Instead of going to work I went to see my doctor.

To be honest HIV wasn't the first thing that came to my mind. In the last 3 months prior to these symptoms, there really wasn't a particular incident that I would have considered "High Risk", although in the last 3 months I did go to a sauna several times (probably about 6 or 7 times in the past 3 months). Where I had anal sex (being the top and using a condom, never *noticed* any incident where the condom broke) and several instances of oral sex (giving and receiving, no ejaculation but a little pre-cum in a few cases). I would say my risk of exposure would probably be more connected to the fact that in some visits I had 3 to 4 different "partners".  Still since I've been doing this for close to 20 years now, getting tested for HIV every year and have always tested negative before. So yes over the years I would say I've had hundreds of sexual partners.

Still I don't want to dwell on how I *might* have gotten the virus. When I look back I always used a condom (besides oral sex) and sometimes things can go wrong. It was a risk I was willing to take, being as careful as I possibly could, yet not being celibate in the process (sex is a part of life). Ok maybe I didn't have to be such a "slut" and have so many partners...  but it's done.

On my visit to my doctor on Feb 12th, he didn't think the rash looked like a Primary HIV infection. He did say it looked more like syphilis (secondary type infection). My doctor treats many HIV+ positive clients.
So he sent me to do an HIV and syphilis test. (My last HIV test had been done on Sept/06. Negative).

On Feb 16th I went to see my doctor again, both tests came back negative. I was feeling a lot better, rash was going away. Again my doctor did explain that I could very well be in my Window Period, so another test would have to be done at the end of the Window Period for HIV.
So I left his office with 2 more papers to for exams, another syphilis test in a month and another HIV test after 2 months. But again he told me not to worry too much about HIV.

For the next week or so, although the rash had gone away and in general was feeling OK. My mind was getting the best of me and waiting 2 more months for the HIV test was not an option.

On March 28th I went back to my doctor's office and asked if I could take an instant test. (This type of test is not covered by our health care system. But for peace of mind I thought the $20 was worth it). The test I took was the "Insti Test" made here in Canada. That produces results in 60 seconds.
One blue dot, test was done correctly, non reactive result (negative). Two blue dots, reactive result (positive).
Did one test (extracting blood from finger), the result was inconclusive. There was what looked like a 2nd dot, but it was very faint (more like an oil spot on water, no color). So we did another test. The second test you could  see a 2nd dot (although still a faint blue color, compared to the control test dot).
The test was interpreted as a Positive reaction. (I felt very numb... )
My doctor did some counseling, that this could very well be a false positive, plus if I was in fact positive, I would just have to see him more frequently but current therapies are much better etc. "So don't stop saving for your retirement" :o)

He sent me to do another lab test. This time for Syphilis, HIV and a bunch of other things. I got the test done on March 29th (they must have taken 8 or 9 little vials of blood).
I already have a follow up appointment with my doctor on April 12th. (In Canada they always do an ELISA test and if positive a Western Blot is automatically done).

I'm not happy about this, yet I must admit I'm calmer now, then I was before I got the Instant Test, where my mind was working overtime.  Knowledge is power and I have a great doctor.

I haven't had any sexual contact since Feb 4th and I won't have any until I know for sure if I'm positive or not.
I'm really hoping for a Negative result, yet I'm a bit more prepared for a Positive, in part due to information I've been reading on sites like this one.

Will post my results next week.


PS. No matter what, I will review why I've had so many different partners over the years :-[ )...  next time I will go for quality and not quantity....  Positive or not.

Andy Velez:
It's the same in the US as in Canada. A positive ELISA is always checked by re-doing the ELISA AND doing a western blot as well. In the case of a positive ELISA and a negative western blot, the latter always trumps the ELISA because it is specific and sensitive.

I agree with your doctor that you may have gotten a false positive, particularly in light of the activities you have mentioned. He's doing exactly the right thing to have a western blot done. And you've got a good attitude about the uncertainty of your result.

I think there is still a good chance you will test negative. If you haven't already read our lesson on testing you might find it worth checking out. There's a link to it in the Welcome thread which opens this section.

Good luck with your result and keep us posted. While you're waiting I recommend staying productively busy. It will help the waiting time to pass more quickly than you may imagine possible right now.



I agree with your doctor that this could very well be a false positive. I'm not familiar with the specific rapid test used, but personally I wouldn't really trust a test that gave results in 60 seconds. It also sounds suspiciously similar to one of the tests available over the internet that is notorious for false positives. It seems that if they are left a minute or so longer than the test period, the second dot or line becomes faintly visible even when the true result is negative. The rapid tests approved by the FDA take twenty minutes to process and are very reliable.

Your risk factors also point to a false positive.

The only thing you can really do is to hang in there until the result of the proper blood test comes back on the twelfth.

Keep us posted.


Thank you Ann and Andy.

About 12 years ago I dated an HIV+ man (having safe sex with him many many times, including unprotected oral with no ejaculation). With many HIV tests done since then, I never got infected...  So it's not an easy virus to get and safe sex practises do work.

Although there is something wrong when you can't account (give a number) or how many different partners you had in the last 3 months.. Once I get my results I'll definitely step back and see what void in my life I was trying to fill by having so much sex (even if these were all very low risk activities).
But first I'll get my results... One thing at a time.

Next Thursday a good friend of mine is taking me to get my results... Funny thing is that I had already agreed to take him for a biopsy he needs to get done this coming Friday.
So, Thursday he takes me.... Friday I take him..... What would we do in this world without good friends :)

Happy Easter to those that celebrate it.... Happy bunny day for those that don't.

Andy Velez:
That's a good plan to re-think what's good for you and what isn't in your life in terms of sexual activity.

In the meantime while you sort that out keep following safer sex guidelines.

Good luck with your test. I still think the odds are in your favor on this one.



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