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Author Topic: seroconversion and immune system responses  (Read 5645 times)

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Offline tracks75

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seroconversion and immune system responses
« on: January 29, 2009, 01:05:07 PM »
I apologize for posting in RioGrande's thread.

I have a question about seroconversion, however. There is a lot of information on the web about seroconversion, and that in most cases, the majority of people infected with HIV will seroconvert at about 4-6 weeks. What I want to ask is what factors are involved in when someone seroconverts and when antibodies will be detectable on a Rapid HIV Test (oral test). I do realize this requires a highly personalized assessment to the specific individual involved, but I was hoping that maybe you could give me some generalities about what I might expect.
For example, I have read that people who use IV drugs and/or people with compromised immune systems will typically take longer to seroconvert, and thus their HIV antibodies will not appear on a Rapid Test until later than the standard 4-6 week window.
I would like you to assess my situation and possibly let me know how my immune system might react to possible infection (I do realize you are not my physician and that you do not have access to my medical history).
I am a white male (age 24). I rarely get sick (I mean very rarely). I maintain a relatively healthy lifestyle, however, I do smoke pot and cigarettes. Would these factors contribute to possibly delaying seroconversion and detection of antibodies by a Rapid Test?
I have been following this forum for a while, and I trust the information you provide.

Offline tracks75

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Re: seroconversion and immune system responses
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2009, 01:26:01 PM »
Sorry, just a follow up question:

How common is it for individuals not to get sick (or get some symptoms) after an infection?

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: seroconversion and immune system responses
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2009, 01:42:59 PM »
Before considering your questions further, what was the nature of your risk, if in fact, you had what you believe was a risky incident?
Andy Velez

Offline tracks75

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Re: seroconversion and immune system responses
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2009, 02:37:49 PM »
I had what is considered a low-risk encounter (sex with a condom with a sex worker - but not sure what kind of condom it was or if it broke - it was dark and she took it off). I know it is low-risk, but I was hoping that you could answer the questions anyway. I promise not to come back with endless questions, hypotheticals or challenges to your responses.

Offline RapidRod

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Re: seroconversion and immune system responses
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2009, 02:55:01 PM »
If the condom would have failed you would have known without a doubt. Dark or not. You didn't have a low risk, you had no risk at all.

Offline tracks75

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Re: seroconversion and immune system responses
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2009, 03:13:30 PM »
Thank you for the reply, and as I said before, I will not continue to annoy with endless posts. I would just really like the answers to the questioned I posed and your opinions. I'd like them to calm my worries, for future reference, and because mostly, I trust the information you give on this site as compared to others. So, if you can answer my questions, I would really appreciate it as I cannot find answers to them on other sites (this is the only site/forum I have ever posted on). If you do not wish to answer, then I will simply go away. I just want you to know that I have the deepest respect for the moderators on this site. So basically, I am satisfied (and relatively relieved) with RapidRod's reply, but I have been trying to firgue out the answers to my questions for a while now, however, I have had very little success.

Offline RapidRod

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Re: seroconversion and immune system responses
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2009, 03:22:07 PM »
Most people seroconvert in 22 days. Does that mean they will have enough antibodies for an HIV test to detect? No. Symptoms are never reliable in diagnosing HIV. Just because one has no symptoms does not mean they are not infected. A conclusive negative test result is 3 months post exposure. That is for all approved tests. Those that need to be considered for further testing are those on Chemo, those that take antirejection drugs for transplants and chronic IV drug abusers. To prevent HIV infection use a condom consistently and correctly which includes the use of water base lubes with latex condoms.

Offline tracks75

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Re: seroconversion and immune system responses
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2009, 04:31:55 PM »
Ok, I am still a little confused. Below (in quotes) is what I found on this site:

"seroconversion is the development of detectable antibodies to HIV in the blood as a result of infection."

You said: "Most people seroconvert in 22 days. Does this mean they will have enough antibodies for an HIV test to detect? No."

What confuses me is that if most people seroconvert in 22 days, and if seroconversion means "the development of detectable antibodies, then why will most people not have detectable antibodies (as detected by an HIV test) after 22 days?

I'm not trying to challenge you, I am just trying to understand.

Offline RapidRod

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Re: seroconversion and immune system responses
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2009, 06:36:28 PM »
Seroconversion is when one goes from negative serology to positive serology. It doesn't mean that your body will have produce enough antibodies for a test to detect. Reason for the 3 month window period.

Offline tracks75

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Re: seroconversion and immune system responses
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2009, 09:19:39 PM »
Yes, but do you see anything contradictory about the two statements I posted above? I cannot seem to reconcile the two. Can anyone else shed some light on this?

Offline RapidRod

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Re: seroconversion and immune system responses
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2009, 09:28:09 PM »
You don't have to. You didn't have a risk and you don't have to worry about seroconversion.

Offline tracks75

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Re: seroconversion and immune system responses
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2009, 12:05:21 AM »
I don't have to? Of course I don't, but I thought the whole idea of this forum is to gain information. That is all I am trying to do.  I hope you are right and, I don't have to worry about seroconversion (trust me, your initial assessment is still very comforting, and I appreciate that). But the information on this site and what you have told me is inconsistent. The two statements cannot both be true. Can I please get a second opinion on this? Anyone?

Offline RapidRod

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Re: seroconversion and immune system responses
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2009, 03:01:35 AM »
Then try reading the lesson sections.

Offline Ann

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Re: seroconversion and immune system responses
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2009, 07:55:52 AM »
Tracks,

My colleague Rodney is following the strict meaning of seroconversion, but for our purposes, it does generally mean the point at which there are enough antibodies to be detected by an hiv test.

The vast majority of people who have actually been infected will seroconvert and test positive by six weeks, with the average time of seroconversion being 22 days. Where there has actually been a risk, a six week negative must be confirmed at three months. You didn't have a risk.

Symptoms are meaningless where diagnosing hiv is concerned. I had a very obvious seroconversion illness (never been so sick in my life) but most people don't notice a thing. The danger in focusing on symptoms is that when someone HAS had a risk (you haven't) but has no symptoms, they might think they're in the clear when they really aren't.

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.

ALTHOUGH YOU DO NOT NEED TO TEST FOR HIV OVER PROTECTED INTERCOURSE, 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.

Use condoms for anal or vaginal intercourse, correctly and consistently, and you will avoid hiv infection. It REALLY is that simple!

Ann

PS - smoking pot, tobacco, or even banana skins will not affect an hiv test or the window period. The only drugs that might alter the window period are anti-rejection drugs (following organ transplant), chemotherapy for cancer, or when street drugs are INJECTED every day, for YEARS. If your immune system were compromised by any of these things, you'd KNOW about it. For sure.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2009, 08:09:16 AM by Ann »
Condoms are a girl's best friend

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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline tracks75

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Re: seroconversion and immune system responses
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2009, 05:21:25 PM »
Ann -

Thank you very much for taking the time out to write me that response. Seriously, thank you. It means a lot to me. I want to ask you one quick question, though ... only because you brought it up in your response. Since I wore a condom, can I go under the assumption that Herpes is the main STI I should be concerned about, and if so, do you know the window period for Herpes? (sorry, that was actually two questions - but no more).

Thank you

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: seroconversion and immune system responses
« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2009, 05:32:40 PM »
We can't diagnose anything here. As far as herpes is concerned, that is something you have to discuss with your doctor. We focus on HIV. Period.

The one thing we always say is that anyone who's sexually active ought to regularly have a full STD panel done. That means at least annually and more often if there are any symptoms.

Andy Velez

Offline tracks75

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Re: seroconversion and immune system responses
« Reply #16 on: January 30, 2009, 11:22:04 PM »
I understand that. Totally. I just wanted your opinions about which stds I should be concerned about considering I had protected sex.

Offline Ann

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Re: seroconversion and immune system responses
« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2009, 07:50:18 AM »
Tracks,

As you've been told, as a sexually active adult you should get screened for ALL STIs at least once a year - and we're talking about people who have protected intercourse. When a person is having UNprotected intercourse, then testing needs to be done more often.

There's really no point in focusing on one or two, get screened for them all and then there are no doubts. You've also been told that some of the other STIs are MUCH easier to transmit than hiv. If you're worried about any of them, just go have a check up and get it over with.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline tracks75

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Re: seroconversion and immune system responses
« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2009, 01:08:53 PM »
Thank you Ann. Final Questions: Considering that my "incident" occurred 7 days ago, when do you think the appropriate time to get checked for all STIs is? I've heard that herpes symptoms tend to come on between 2-12 days after an exposure. Dr. HHH on medhelp said that if you do not have any herpes symptoms by the end of about 12 days then you are in the "clear" (i read this on someone else's post). Is this true. Thank you for your patience. I hope I am worrying over nothing.

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: seroconversion and immune system responses
« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2009, 05:01:10 PM »
There's no flat out answer that will cover all STDs. That's why we encourage anyone who's sexually active to regularly have a full STD panel done. Symptoms of herpes for instance typically appear anywhere from 2 - 20 days after exposure, although someone can carry and transmit the virus for years without knowing they're infected.

I really don't want to get into cataloging each one here. If you have any persistent symptoms it's always a good idea to have a conversation with your doctor.

 
Andy Velez

Offline tracks75

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Re: seroconversion and immune system responses
« Reply #20 on: February 02, 2009, 01:17:22 PM »
Hi everyone. I have found this forum really comforting. I just wanted to ask a question: has anyone here actually known anyone who has seroconverted after 4 weeks? I am just trying to personalize (in some way) the general data that I have read on the internet regarding teh window period.

Offline RapidRod

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Re: seroconversion and immune system responses
« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2009, 01:28:15 PM »
You are not personalizing when you are asking about other people. The window period is 4 weeks to 3 months for a reason.

Offline Ann

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    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: seroconversion and immune system responses
« Reply #22 on: February 02, 2009, 01:46:39 PM »
Tracks,

Why on earth are you still fretting about seroconversion when you did NOT have a risk?

Keep posting over this no risk incident and you'll be given a time out. If you've read the Welcome Thread like you're supposed to, you will have read the following posting guideline:

Quote
Anyone who continues to post excessively, questioning a conclusive negative result or no-risk situation, will be subject to a four week Time Out (a temporary ban from the Forums). If you continue to post excessively after one Time Out, you may be given a second Time Out which will last eight weeks. There is no third Time Out - it is a permanent ban. The purpose of a Time Out is to encourage you to seek the face-to-face help we cannot provide on this forum.

Please consider yourself warned.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

 


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