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Author Topic: HIV testing  (Read 2910 times)

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Offline NeedHelpPlease

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HIV testing
« on: July 30, 2006, 09:58:42 PM »
Hi all...Im a heterosexual male and had unprotected vaginal intercourse with a women that I know, but not all that well.  Asked about her HIV status, she says negative, but I'm still scared because I got some of the typical symptoms of ARS twelve days after our encounter...although I know symptoms are not specific enough, it still very scarey to experience this after a possible risk.  I guess ignorance is bliss.  Well, the physician I saw ordered the p24 test and the rapid antibody test, this is at about 22 days after my exposure.  Both were negative.  My 6th week is coming up so I'm going to get retested for antibodies to ease my mind.

1.  I've read that the p24 is not really sensitive.  Why didn't he just order a viral load, since it is a much more sensitive test?  I paid $470 for the tests, I've heard that viral load isn't much more expensive.

2.  Why is p24 even offered if it is not very sensitive?  The lab the sample was sent to was LabCorp.  I think some docs may be selling a false sense of security with this test if it truely is not a sensitive test. 


Offline Ronnie99

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Re: HIV testing
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2006, 10:11:58 PM »
p24 is often given soon after possible infection because it picks up infection earlier than antibody tests do. Your tests sound somewhat expensive though for only an antibody test and a p24 test. Are you sure that $470 did not include other blood work and possibly a full STD test? That would make more sense for that high price....

Offline NeedHelpPlease

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Re: HIV testing
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2006, 11:51:10 PM »
No, it only included an antibody test and p24 test I'm sure of that.  I was already tested for other STDs and HIV from my primary physician, and all are negative, but I'm worried about the window period.  Just talked to my last partner and she's getting tested thursday.  I'm so worried because at first she said she was tested in April, and now on further questioning, it turns out it was for other STDs, and it didn't include an HIV test.  She said she did get tested one year ago and was negative, and that she was with the same partner for the entire duration.  But now with this new news, my level of suspicion and anxiety is much higher.  She became offended that I kept asking her questions about her status, I don't think she is going to want to continue seeing me after this. 

Offline Ann

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Re: HIV testing
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2006, 05:10:05 AM »
Need,

You got fleeced. Since you DO need further testing, I suggest you visit the HIV testing center database where you enter your zip code to find a center near you. I'm sure you can find somewhere that won't rob you blind while testing you for hiv.

PCR testing is NOT approved for diagnostic purposes because it is so sensitive. It has a very high rate of false positive results - and trust me, you dont' want one of those. Forget about PCR testing.

The vast majority of people who have actually been infected will seroconvert and test positive by six weeks, with the average time being 22 days. Your negative result is very encouraging and frankly, I would expect you to continue to test negative.

Hiv is a fragile, difficult to transmit virus and more so from a woman to a man. Even if your partner is hiv positive, it is no guarantee that sucessful transmission took place. You do, however, need to test at 12-13 weeks to confirm your negative results at 22 days. If your illness at twelve days was indeed ARS, you would have at least tested indeterminate on your test. This is why I fully expect you to continue to test negative.

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 STIs together. To agree to have unprotected intercourse is to consent to the possibility of being infected with a sexually transmitted infection.

Have a look through the condom and lube links in my signature line so you can use condoms with confidence.

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.

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.

I really hope you learn from this mistake and start using condoms.

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 NeedHelpPlease

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  • Posts: 7
Re: HIV testing
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2006, 10:40:21 PM »
Thanks for the replies.  This site is a great resource.  I'm still curious about the p24 test though.  Have I just been stumbiling across old literature, or is this test pretty much useless due to lack of sensitivity.  Are modern labs performing this test with greater sensitivity, as opposed to what ever technology was available a few years ago?  Why do MD's order this test for early detection if half the time it doesn't even work?  I asked the physician for a viral load test, and he said this test will tell him nothing. 

Offline Ann

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  • It just is, OK?
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Re: HIV testing
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2006, 05:27:34 AM »
Need,

Please read the Welcome Thread and follow the links found there for further information. If you still have questions after reading the Testing Lesson, come back and ask - but only after you've read the lesson, ok?

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 NeedHelpPlease

  • Member
  • Posts: 7
Re: HIV testing
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2006, 02:16:01 PM »
Hi Ann, I read the links under the welcome page, they were helful.  But I still have questions about the p24 test.  So from what I understand, the p24 antigen becomes undetectable when your body produces antibodies specific for p24 antigen, in which case they become bound as an immune complex.  However, at this point you should have detectable antibodies in your blood, which should be picked up by the usual antibody test.  It make sense to look for both at the same time if you want to detect HIV early, such as in my case at about 3 weeks after exposure. 

The thing that concerns me is the lack of sensitivity of the p24 test.  Is the lack of sensitivity for this test due to:

1.  Antibodies binding the p24 antigen, making it hard to detect?  I've read about disassociation assays that help free the antigen making it more detectable.

2.  Or, is the test just not sensitive?  For example:  If a lab had a sample of blood that came from an individual with HIV, but it contained no antibodies to HIV or any part of it, would they be able to detect the presence of the p24 antigen at closer to 99% sensitivity?

I guess the reason for my questions are obvious.  But also, if I am infected, I think I would like to start treatment early, if its not already too late.  One more thing, the MD that I saw for my HIV testing is actually listed as a provider on the HIV testing link posted earlier.  So I guess he's legit, just very expensive.  I'm out here in LA, so I'm sure there are lots of other places I can go to for cheaper.

Thanks



Offline Ann

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    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: HIV testing
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2006, 02:35:00 PM »
Need,

I would imagine that if anyone is saying the P24 test isn't sensitive, it's merely because of the small window of opportunity it has for detecting the P24 antigen.

Starting early treatment isn't a proven method and has no clear benefits. The drugs used to control hiv infection are highly toxic and many side-effects come along with them, including long-term side effects which we do not yet fully understand. I've been positive for nine years now and I still don't need meds - if you start straight away you might never know if you're a person who could also go for years without the meds.

But this is silly and putting the cart before the horse. Hiv is a fragile, difficult to transmit virus and even more so from a woman to a man. My own partner and I were together for a year and a half, having unprotected, before we discovered my hiv status. He is still hiv negative. Exposure does not guarantee infection.

You tested negative at 22 days with a combo test and it's unlikely that your test results are going to change.

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 NeedHelpPlease

  • Member
  • Posts: 7
Re: HIV testing
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2006, 12:32:53 AM »
Thanks for sharing that with me Ann, it was very encouraging.  I really appreciate your response. 

Offline NeedHelpPlease

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  • Posts: 7
Re: HIV testing
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2006, 08:06:16 PM »
Well, it's been seven weeks since my exposure and I tested negative today with the Rapid HIV 1/2 test.  I know this is not definitive, but from what I've been reading, its a pretty clear indication of what my test will be at twelve weeks.  I went to a free testing sight near my home here in LA, and they were much nicer, and much more helpful than the doctor I dropped $475 on for testing.  The staff there made me feel comfortable, and offered good advice.  They seemed much more knowledgeable than my personal physician, who looked at me like I was insane when I started talking about the window period after he gave me my negative results.  Well, I feel much more comfortable now, although I'm not totally in the clear.  I just wich someone could tell me exactly what I did have that made me have those symptoms, which were unlike any cold/flue, or sickness I've ever experienced in my life.

Offline NeedHelpPlease

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  • Posts: 7
Re: HIV testing
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2006, 09:58:14 PM »
Just wanted to update you guys on my situation.  Tested again at 10 weeks, then again at 13 weeks with the rapid antibody test using the finger prick method--negative.  I guess I can say that I'm definately negative, right?  Hopefully I can put an end to all this now, because the last 3 months have been the most stressful times I've had in a while. Definately a tough lesson learned.  Thanks for the replies and for this website.

Offline RapidRod

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  • Posts: 15,286
Re: HIV testing
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2006, 10:01:54 PM »
Yes you are conclusively negative.

 


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