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Author Topic: How Sure Can I Be?  (Read 1022 times)

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Offline anonymousstudent

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How Sure Can I Be?
« on: April 19, 2014, 11:41:47 AM »
So about 5 weeks ago, I had my first unprotected sex encounter. I had anal sex with another man, in which I was the top (I am circumcised), for about 4-5 minutes. Neither of us discussed whether we were neg or poz, but I knew for a fact I was neg before that since I had never had unprotected anal. After that, the next 4 weeks were hell.

I was extremely anxious, and felt constant doom, expecting myself to definitely have contracted HIV from that encounter. I looked for every symptom of ARS that I found online, but nothing really showed up. Aside from a few random red dots on my arm and wrist (which I hope were caused by my stress/anxiety), I had no fever, sore throat, fatigue, aches, full blown rash...etc.

Exactly 31 days after the encounter, I called my doctor, and asked if there were tests I could take to give me a good enough answer to quell my anxiety. So he gave me a RNA test, an antibody test, and a DNA test.

Next day, he called me to tell me that my RNA test detected no virus, and my antibody test was negative. My DNA test has yet to come back to him (took it wednesday, it is saturday)

My questions are:

1. How accurate is the RNA test? I have heard that it is only accurate up to about 4 weeks after infection (due to antibodies attacking the virus and making levels in the undetectable level). I have also heard that from two weeks on, it just becomes more and more accurate. So I don't know which to assume.

2. Is the combination of the negative RNA as well as negative antibody test an accurate result? I read that the only reason RNA would become undetectable would be due to high levels of antibodies killing off the virus. In this case, would my test have detected antibodies?

3. Should I be worried about the DNA test not arriving back to him? I am worried that it might have showed up positive and they are keeping it at the lab for further tests.

All in all, should I expect myself to be negative? I am literally in agony this anxiety is so bad. I would appreciate any help!!!
« Last Edit: April 19, 2014, 11:44:17 AM by anonymousstudent »

Offline Jeff G

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  • How am I doing Beren ?
Re: How Sure Can I Be?
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2014, 11:51:47 AM »
1. How accurate is the RNA test? I have heard that it is only accurate up to about 4 weeks after infection (due to antibodies attacking the virus and making levels in the undetectable level). I have also heard that from two weeks on, it just becomes more and more accurate. So I don't know which to assume.

There are no shortcuts to HIV testing . The average time to seroconversion is 22 days. Most who are infected will test positive by 6 weeks. For various reasons a small number will take longer and that is why we follow the CDC recommendation to test at 3 months for a conclusive negative result. Any test you take has to be confirmed at 3 months .

This answers all 3 of your questions . All you can do now is test at 3 months for a conclusive result .

Here's what you need to know in order to avoid hiv infection:

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 without a condom lasts only a matter of minutes, but hiv is forever.

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.

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. Some of the other STIs can be present with no obvious symptoms, so the only way to know for sure is to test.

Use condoms for anal or vaginal intercourse, correctly and consistently, and you will avoid hiv infection. It really is that simple!
HIV 101 - Basics
HIV 101
You can read more about Transmission and Risks here:
HIV Transmission and Risks
You can read more about Testing here:
HIV Testing
You can read more about Treatment-as-Prevention (TasP) here:
You can read more about HIV prevention here:
HIV prevention
You can read more about PEP and PrEP here
PEP and PrEP


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