HIV Prevention and Testing > Am I Infected?

Preliminary positive antibody

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Thanks to the moderators and the other members of the community for the advice and words of encouragement you provide. 

Five weeks ago, I engaged in MSM sex (where I was the receptive bottom, no ejaculation) with someone of claimed negative status.  It was protected, however the first several times he tried to put a condom on, it broke and I'm still not sure whether the one we used maintained its integrity -though he assured me it did not break. 

I know symptoms are never indicative of transmission, but approximately two weeks post-exposure, I came down with severe symptoms that made me concerned...this coincided with receiving decidedly more ambiguous responses from the same sexual partner about his status (he was a bit more "shady" when we last spoke and told me he had received a call from the Dept of Health about previous sexual partner who had tested positive a year ago).  My 5 week antibody test was negative and my PCP (also ID doc) agreed to do a PCR RNA test at 4 weeks for my anxiety (which I will admit was/is significant) which also turned up negative. 

Questions for the community:

1.  I understand that the antibody test at 13weeks is the only approved method for diagnoses.  Nevertheless, should the unlikeliness of PCR-RNA tests to yield false negatives coupled with a 5-week negative antibody provide me any level of relief? 
2.  I understand that the virus is a fragile one, but could I have been infected through pre-cum and a leaky condom? 

Some silly questions, but I appreciate your feedback.  Thanks again for what you do!

Andy Velez:
OK. If your recent partner's condom had broken it would have been very obvious. It's not a subtle thing with teensy little holes. When a condom breaks it looks like a fringed hula hoop on the dick. And it would have been very obvious to you.

So I would consider this to have been a protected intercourse incident. Condoms provide very effective protection.

Although the PCR is not a diagnostic test it IS very sensitive. A negative at 28 days or more is likely to be reliable. You should still re-test at 13 weeks to confirm those earlier negative results. The average time to seroconversion is 22 days and all but the smallest number of those who are going to seroconvert will do so within 4-6 weeks after an exposure to the HIV virus. With those two negatives in hand and having used a condom, I expect you will continue to test negative.

If your symptoms persist you should discuss them with your doctor.

It reads like you're not very experienced with having sex with another guy. If I'm correct about that, along with being exciting it can also stir up a lot of other feelings and anxiety. Just make sure that when it comes to intercourse whoever is the insertive partner is ALWAYS wearing a latex condom. No exceptions. Do that and you'll be ok as far as HIV is concerned in terms of sexual acitivity. And if you haven't already read our lesson on Transmission, please do so. There's a link to it in the Welcome thread which opens this section.

I expect you to come out of this incident ok.



I agree with everything Andy has told you and just want to add the following:

You need to be using condoms for anal or vaginal intercourse, every time, no exceptions until such time as you are in a securely monogamous relationship where you have both tested for ALL sexually transmitted infections together. To agree to have unprotected intercourse is to consent to the possibility of being infected with an STI. Sex with a condom lasts only a matter of minutes, but hiv is forever.

Have a look through all three condom and lube links in my signature line so you can use condoms with confidence. When you bottom, you can put the condom on your top so you can make sure he's wearing it correctly. You can do this as part of foreplay.

Anyone who is sexually active should be having a full sexual health care check-up, including but not limited to hiv testing, at least once a year and more often if unprotected intercourse occurs.

If you aren't already having regular, routine check-ups, now is the time to start. As long as you make sure condoms are being used for intercourse, you can fully expect your routine hiv tests to return with negative results. Don't forget to always get checked for all the other sexually transmitted infections as well, because they are MUCH easier to transmit than hiv.

Like Andy, I fully expect you to continue to test negative over this incident. Make sure you and/or your top is always using condoms and you will continue to avoid hiv infection.


Hi all,

I'm very worried right now and am reaching out to the community.  I posted here a while back about an incident that was decidedly low-risk.  I haven't had any sexual encounters since or for a few months prior to that incident:

I was the anal receptive partner of msm sex; it was protected (I had concerns about condom breakage but my partner says it didn't and I didn't notice it breaking) and no ejaculation.  I started feeling symptoms (severe hot flashes, dizziness) two weeks post-exposure which made me concerned. 

I had a 4 week pcr rna (viral load) that came back undetectable.  A six and nine-week oraquick came back negative. 

Today, at the 12-week mark, I had a preliminary positive result with the tester saying that it was a "faint" but "definitely reactive" bar on the device. 

I'm confused and angry and feeling a whole lot of other emotions...I'm confused as to how it could have happened.  I know there are few false positives with the Oraquick so I'm basically terrified.  I know that forum isn't meant for this, but I feel like I need to write or tell someone.  I feel adrift.

Matty the Damned:

Please keep all your additional thoughts, questions and comments in your original thread. This helps us to follow your story and give you the mos accurate advice.

If you can't find you original thread click on the red link I've provided above. Alternatively you can click on the "show own posts" link in the left hand column of any forums page. Your questions will not be answered until you return to your original thread.



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