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Does everyone always go through seroconversion?


My husband has recently been diagnosed HIV+. My test was negative.  We had an extremely risky sexual encounter only 2 weeks before I was tested, so I don't know how accurate that test would have been.  Anyway, I have never been sick (high fever, swollen glands, rash, etc.) and everyone reassures me that I shouldn't worry... BUT I am now on my 3rd canker sore...  Huge canker sores.  I had to ask someone what they were because I've never had any problem like this before.  And they're lasting forever.  I know they think canker sores may be caused by stress, but if that's the case I should have had a mouth full last month, not now.  I don't get my next test until October - do you think I should try to have them do another one sooner?

Matty the Damned:
Hi Secret!

Well the answer to the first question is; yes everyone who is infected with HIV does go through seroconversion. Seroconversion is simply the process where antibodies to HIV become detectable in someone's bloodstream following infection. This usually takes about 6 weeks, but can take as long as 12.

The real answer you're looking is; no, not everybody who is HIV positive experiences symptoms of their seroconversion aka acute retroviral syndrome (ARS) aka seroconversion illness. This is why we steer clear of discussing "symptoms of HIV infection" here. Not everyone gets them and if they do, those symptoms are largely indistinguishable from the symptoms of a lot of other infections -- both viral and bacterial.

You report having a risky sexual encounter with your partner, who you know to be HIV positive. In this case you do need to be tested, and tested at 13 weeks from the date of that encounter. Your two week test was not sufficient to determine your serostatus.

You should know that most people who will seroconvert will do so at the 6 week mark, so in your case I'd recommend having an antibody test performed 6 weeks from the date of that encounter. If that test result is negative you'll need to test again at 13 weeks.

Also, HIV is not an easy virus to transmit. So there is a good chance you may have "dodged the bullet in this case". Nevertheless HIV is nothing to take chances about so get that testing done. In the future make sure you and your partner use latex condoms and water based lubricant whenever you have anal or vaginal sex.

Best regards,


MtD - thanks for your info (and quick response)

I also should clarify that when we engaged in that risky behavior it was before either of us were tested and HIV had never been mentioned as even a possibility at that time.  Since his poz result we have made condoms our new best friends  ;)

Matty the Damned:
Since his poz result we have made condoms our new best friends

Hey SK, I'm glad to hear it. I follow your posts in the other forums here and appreciate the difficulties you're going through at the moment.

I should probably mention that should you and your husband have a condom SNAFU in the future (they're rare but they do happen) or should unprotected vaginal or anal sex happen for whatever reason there's a thing called Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) which can help reduce the likelihood of you being infected.

It might be wise for you to speak to your husband's HIV practitioner about how PEP works and how to access it in case of an emergency. :)


The advice I've just given to SecretKeeper about PEP relates to her specific case and has nothing to do with the rest of you. I don't want to see any of you post in this thread or raise these issues in your own thread. None of you need PEP. If I hear one mention of it or SecretKeepers issues from any of you, I'll be really pissed off.

Seriously. I'm not joking. Mind your own damn business.  >:(


Andy Velez:
Secret, I moved your thread over to this section because I think you'll get find readers to be knowledgeable and responsive about your situation here.

Further to what Matty has already said, the average time to seroconversion is 22 days. That's "average." All but the very smallest number of those who are going to seroconvert will do so within 4-6 weeks after an exposure to the HIV virus. If you want to you can test at 6 weeks. Assuming you test negative, and hopefully you will, the odds that you will continue to test negative again at 13 weeks will be very much in your favor.

There are many, many thousands of sero-discordant couples who are having good lives in every way including sexually. You and your husband can have that too. You seem to have gotten a good sense of the need to use condoms consistently. You had this one "accident." Just make sure he's using ones that fit him properly and you two should do ok with them.

You're welcome to come here to discuss anything that's on your mind as well as to ask questions.

Good luck with getting adjusted to this new element in your lives.



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