HIV Prevention and Testing > Am I Infected?

Viral load scare?

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calikid:
I had unprotected MSM anal sex the first week of June (June 4). He didn't ejaculate inside of me. I came down with mild flu-like symptoms the third week, experiencing a sore throat, light-headedness, dizziness, fever and what I believed were to be swollen lymph-nodes. It only lasted 2-3 days. I only had a slight change in bowel movements, but that only lasted a day or two.

I went in for a HIV/STD test on June 29. I called in for my results the following Monday and came out to be HIV negative -- tested blood for antibodies, and found none. But I did test positive for chlamydia. A few days later, I got a call saying that I tested positive on PCR. I was shocked, he told me that I had a viral load of 10,000. I went in that same day and took a rapid HIV antibody test and it came out to be negative. Consequently, I am waiting back on results on my second blood sample due sometime this week, which I assume will be tested using the Western Blot?

I don't think I am still within the window period, am I? I have read that it can take as little as two weeks for the body to be producing HIV antibodies. But I have also read that viral loads can reach or excede 100,000 during acute HIV infection. I know the rapid antibody test/ELISA is the gold standard in diagnosing HIV, but I just needed some feedback.

The wait is absolutely killing me. I have been researching online for possible false positives, as reported with PCR. But I have also learned that having chlamydia will significantly increase your chances of contracting HIV. Will my viral load be higher because I had sex the day before? I have to admit that I have all these variables, which may make it hard to respond appropriately.

I was just wondering what my chances of being HIV-infected. Thanks in advance.

RapidRod:
Your mistake was taking a PCR test to begin with. PCR tests are not diagnostic tests. They are screening tests. It's so early for a conclusive negative test so you'll have to wait.

Matty the Damned:
Hey Kid,

See this is the problem with using PCR testing as a diagnostic tool. Positive results can't be trusted. PCR testing for HIV diagnosis returns an unacceptably high level of false positive results.

The negative ELISA result you received is not conclusive either. Most people who are going to test positive do so within 4 - 6 weeks of being infected. The other test you're waiting on might be a WB, I doubt it -- these are done usually to confirm a positive ELISA result.

If you test antibody positive (confirmed by WB) in the next few weeks, then we'll know for sure. However a negative antibody test result cannot be considered conclusive until 12-13 weeks from June 4th.

MtD

calikid:
I understand that the test is inconclusive until the 13th week, but is it still possible that my body is producing antibodies now? I've read that certain tests can pick up antibodies 4-6 weeks after the time of infection. I did the rapid HIV antibody test on July 6, which again, came out to be negative.

Is my viral load consistent with people recently infected with HIV? I've researched on line and some studies point out that people who were recently infected with HIV have viral loads of 100,000 or more.

Matty the Damned:
Kid,

If you have been infected (and you've reported unprotected butt-sex) then antibodies won't be too far away. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Your VL result (which could well be a false positive) is really not a good indicator of anything at the moment.

You could always have another ELISA test done in a couple of weeks. Like I said earlier, If it's positive and that result is confirmed by WB, then we can stop all this what-iffing. Remember that most people who test antibody positive will do so within 4-6 weeks.

I can well understand that you're very nervous right now and you just want a clear cut answer about what's going on. But you're going to have to be a bit patient.

Keep us informed babe.

Best regards,

MtD

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