HIV Prevention and Testing > Am I Infected?

Please Help to Assess My Hiv Risk

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Waiting Ryan:
Hello to all,

I am currently in week nine of the worst period of my life.  A drunken fool, I had vaginal sex with a prostitute.  We used a condom, however, it broke as her vagina was dry.  I pulled out immediately and that was the end of it.

Around day 7, I began to get a superficial burning around my genitals.  This lasted for about 3 days.

Around Day 10, I began to have pretty bad testicular pain in both testicles.  This lasted for about a week.

At this point I was tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea.  Negative on both counts.

Around day 20, I began to have diarrhea.  This lasted for about 2 days.

Since then I have had swollen glands in my groin.  This is what has really worries me.  They have been swollen for around 6 weeks now and are a constant reminder that I may have contracted HIV.

I have tested Negative with an OraQuick Advance at 6 weeks.

I also tested Negative with a PCR DNA Test and ELISA done through LabCorp at 8 weeks.

I know that I a 3 Month antibody test is the only test deemed conclusive by the CDC.  But I am going out of my mind with worry.  I don't know how I've made it through the past 9 weeks.  I really don't.  I'm just running out of gas to deal with this.  What are my chances based on the exposure, the symptoms, and the testing that I have set forth?  Any advice would really help.

Bless you all,

Ryan

Andy Velez:
OK, despite what your mind and your symptoms are telling you, Ryan, you're in pretty good shape as far as HIV is concerned.

The condom protected you until it broke. HIV is not an easy virus to transmit, and even IF the woman you were with is HIV+, which is not a certainty, it is significantly harder to transmit from female to male. Given that it was a brief possible exposure and adding in those several negative test results I expect you will continue to test negative.

All but the smallest number of those who are going to seroconvert will do so within 4-6 weeks after an exposure to HIV virus.

As for your symptoms, the tension factor aside, you should be discussing symptoms with your doctor. There is nothing HIV-specific about your symptoms, which is no surprise because I don't see HIV as being an issue for you.

Get tested at 13 weeks, collect what I expect will be another negative result and get on with your life.

Cheers, 

Waiting Ryan:
Andy, thank you very much for your quick and reassuring reply.  I will no doubt test out to 3 months to make absolutely sure.  However, your response will make the next 3 weeks much easier to bear.

I was also wondering if anyone had an opinion on my DNA PCR test result.  I know that I was foolish to have one done given the rate of false positives and that the test is not approved by the FDA for diagnostic purposes.  However, it was a decision that I made in haste and under duress.

That being said, how much comfort can I take from the negative DNA PCR result that I collected at 8 weeks?

In other words, can I be confident in my negative PCR result?  I know that the vast majority of experts (if not all) believe that such a test isn't conclusive and should not recommended for diagnostic purposes.  So, I'm testing out to 3 months no matter what.  However, now that I have collected a negative DNA PCR result, how much comfort can I take from it?

Also, why isn't the DNA PCR test recommended for diagnostic purposes?  Is it only the cost and the high rate of false positives?  Are there also concerns of false negatives?  Is there just too little in the way of data?

Thanks again to Andy, and thanks in advance to any other contributors to the thread.

Matty the Damned:
Also, why isn't the DNA PCR test recommended for diagnostic purposes?  Is it only the cost and the high rate of false positives?  Are there also concerns of false negatives?  Is there just too little in the way of data?

You nailed it, kid. PCR testing has an unacceptably high rate of false positives. As I understand it false negatives are not a concern. PCR testing is really designed to be one of a number of tools for monitoring disease progression and treatment efficacy in HIV positive people.

If you're already stressed now, can you imagine what a false positive PCR test would do? In any event, a positive PCR test would have to be backed up by appropriate antibody testing at the 12-13 week mark.

The reality is that you're gonna have to wait out the window period and have that antibody test at 13 weeks. If you've lasted 9 weeks, you can cope for another 3.

MtD

Waiting Ryan:
Thanks Matty,

I knew that I was taking a big risk in that regard and that it was foolish.  So, I may have dodged a bullet simply by NOT getting a false positive.    Hopefully I will dodge yet another bullet in 3 weeks.  However, given your statement regarding false negatives not being a concern, would you think that I could be "confident" until then?

Best,

Ryan

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