HIV Prevention and Testing > Am I Infected?


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Greetings Poz forum-ers,

One never really knows where one can end up in life. My journey started early last month, Nov. 1 to be precise, when after slight inebriation, i had an unprotected encounter with a girl i had known for ~4 years; we'd never been intimate before...not once! I do not know her status. It really sucks because i was inside her for ~2 minutes, after which i recognized my error and rushed to the shower to wash my member (and thereafter also took a long piss.) She slept over but we did nothing for the rest of the night. Seven or so days later, i developed a sensitive stomach. I was passing soft stool at least once a day. There was also some feeling of discomfort/dull ache in my upper tummy.

Exactly three weeks post-exposure 11/24, due to the intense anxiety i was having about the whole issue, i decided to go to the hospital for tests. I explained it all to the doc on duty, who explained to me that i had to retest ~3 months in order to be certain. Nonetheless, we performed the rapid test (i had an negative hiv result), but was warned that i had to retest again in 3 months to be certain. I am now 5 weeks past exposure and still awaiting ARS, if it hasn't already happened without my knowledge (as indicated by the irritable stomach and bowel movement oscillating between constipation and soft stools). I realize that ARS can be mild, severe or even absent.

I am posting here hoping for a couple of answers (or advice):

a) I know you moderators repeatedly tell forum-ers that only a test can decisively confirm (or rule out disease), but i wonder what additional insight, if any, you can offer me at this point?

I have read a couple of your posts where you advise to test at a minimum of 6 weeks. This is my sixth week and i am yet to weigh whether its worth it to test towards the end of this week, and retest again after 3 months. Or should i just remain patient until 3 months elapses...

I will appreciate any insights regarding my case.


Jeff G:
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.

You did have a risk and will need to test in the time frame I referenced above . Your risk was a lower risk on the scale of risk due to the short duration and you being the insertive partner but low risk does not mean no risk and that why you must test .

Your symptoms are not specific to HIV and could be from anything other . The only way to know your status is to test at the appropriate time . Its your choice to test at 6 weeks or just wait for 3 months for a conclusive result, you should expect a negative test . 

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 STDs 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!


Hello Jeff, thank you for your response.

I wanted to post an update regarding my case. It has now been 8 weeks post-exposure and so i decided to follow your recommendation to retest after the 6 week mark. I had a rapid ELISA test today that returned a NEGATIVE result. It was quite a nerve wracking wait for the result.

I know i must retest at the 3 month mark but i was wondering, based on your experience, what you would say my prospects are at the 3 month mark. Also, my tummy has not settled down despite all bowel tests being clear.

Hope i have not forgotten to ask anything else since i realize i may only be allowed to post once more.

Thanks to all the forum-ers and moderators.

Jeff G:
Its rare for a negative 6 week test to go on the be positive after the 3 month mark so you should expect a negative result when you retest .

I haven't seen a 6 week change so you are doing great and I am confident that you do not have HIV and the results at 3 months will confirm it . Best of luck .

Thank you for your curt response.

As one can imagine, the recent result, while slighly calming to me, did not alleviate most of my concern. I have a couple more questions which i'm hoping any one of you moderators can answer:

1. If the tummy issues (diarhea-like stools, dull ache, no appetite etc.) were due to ARS, would my 8 week negative test result have been any different?
2. As far as you are aware, are there many recorded instances of an 8 week negative changing at the 3 month mark?
3. Is there any benefit (other than reassurance) of me retesting before the 3 month mark? In 3 or so weeks?

My mind is having a tough time settling. I know that ONLY another test will tell me the truth but i'm just looking for some reassurance.



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