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Author Topic: Does taking antivirals for herpes interfere with HIV testing such as Oraquick?  (Read 761 times)

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Offline lasally

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Hello,

I am a female that was diagnosed with genital herpes 11/22/2013. That is when I had my first outbreak. (I am not sure if I have type one or type two yet). Well I have been waiting as long as I could to take an HIV test because I wanted to be sure. So I think 6 months is a practical time limit, I hope. I took the Oraquick HIV swab test yesterday which was 5/17/2014 (which is almost six months since I been diagnosed with herpes and of course possible exposure to HIV). Now I can't be too certain of the dates, but I am pretty sure it was at the end of November. Anyway, I digress.

Now, I have been taking valacyclvior (valtrex) since I got diagnosed with herpes. Does taking antivirals interfere with an oral swab test from Oraquick? I am pretty sure that taking antivirals interfere with herpes blood testing, meaning it takes longer for antibodies to build, so of course I am frightened this means the same for HIV.

I am getting an HIV blood test on Monday from a lab, which leads to my secondary question. Will taking the antivirals for my herpes interfere with my blood HIV test from the lab?

I think most of you know why I am asking this, but in case you don't; I read somewhere (forget where), but please don't mark my words because I have a bad memory, but I think it said that the test is not accurate for people who are HIV taking antivirals . I'm very confused about that because who would take an HIV test if someone already knows they have HIV? But again, I could be wrong on what I read. But I do know I read somewhere that taking antivirals could interfere with an HIV test whether it be blood or oral, but it was more about for hiv patients and cancer patients? I want to know more about the oral test if possible for that is my main concern tonight. I am in state of panic and worry. I took two test and they came out negative, but I am still worried, not only because of the antiviral situation, but also because I think I messed up the swab portion of the test both times. I am a nervous wreck.

Thank you

Online Ann

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Sally,

Provided you have tested at least three (THREE, not six) months past your last incident of UNPROTECTED anal or vaginal intercourse, then you are conclusively hiv negative.

Antivirals for herpes will absolutely NOT affect hiv antibody testing. We hiv positive people take antiRETROvirals (aka ARVs), not antivirals. They're two totally different types of viruses and the treatments are two totally different treatments.

Even people who are hiv positive and taking ARVs will still test positive on an hiv antibody test. You either misinterpreted or are not remembering correctly what you read about ARVs and hiv antibody testing. In fact, I take both ARVs and acyclovir daily and I will still test hiv positive on an antibody test.

The only people who might take a little longer to seroconvert and test positive with the hiv antibody tests in use today are people who are on chemotherapy for cancer, anti-rejection drugs following organ transplant, or those who have been injecting street drug, every day, for years. Even these three groups of people will normally test hiv positive by three months.

People who have taken ARVs as PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis) need to count their window period from their last dose of PEP. PEP is taken for 28 days, so a test post-PEP will be conclusive at sixteen weeks following a potential exposure, which is twelve weeks after the last dose of PEP.

So in other words, you are conclusively hiv negative, provided you have not had unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse with anyone in the past twelve weeks.

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!

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 lasally

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Thank you so very much Ann. God bless you for giving me such an informative answer and you're right, I probably did misread it or mishear it for my mind was going a million miles a minute and my mind playing tricks on me.  I confused the antiretrovirals for antivirals most likely.  Anyway, I feel much better. I made an appointment yesterday through request-a-test (paid for it already) to have a blood test so I will be having that done in about two hours and suppose to be getting results back on Tuesday. I will definitely come back and post when results come back because I know how important it is for everybody who researches these type of things to have as much info as possible.

I hope you don't think I wasted your time Ann since I am getting a blood test done in a few hours.  It's just, these hours seem like centuries when you are dealing with this. You have literally calmed me down a whole lot and probably saved me from getting into a car accident on the way to my test because I have been shaking so badly.  It took me about 3 hours to write that question on a word document.  Anyway, I truly, truly, TRULY thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me. ((((big hugs))))))))))

Offline lasally

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Ok, something has been weighing on my mind.  My last possible exposure was 11 weeks ago, March 1, 2014, not in November.  I totally blocked that out of my mind until I got to the lab place to get my blood test. I blocked it out because I was more worried about the guy who gave me herpes. I have just been so focused on him, I really didn't think about the most recent guy (I did tell him I have herpes)... but I  had to be honest with myself and all of you. I feel horrible about this.  I changed the test when I was in there, to a RNA test which cost significantly more then the standard HIV test and results take about week (not a day).  So I guess this excessive worrying will happen for a week now.  Living in pure panic and fear. My heart is beating so fast I can hear it in my ears.  What made me get the test to begin with is that I came down with a body rash and boil in my leg that got really infected.  That was on May 9th.  I feel like my heart is going to explode outside of my chest.

Online Jeff G

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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.

A six week test is highly unlikely to change from negative to positive so you can relax .

Online Ann

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Sally,

Unless you had unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse with this guy in March, then you're worrying for no good reason. If you DID have unprotected intercourse, what were you thinking?

Regardless, as Jeff said, anything past a six week negative is highly unlikely to change. The three month confirmation is to catch the exceedingly rare person who takes slightly longer than six weeks (even that's conservative - most will test poz by four) to test positive. It's a case of "better safe than sorry".

By the way, RNA tests aren't meant for diagnostic purposes, as any result must still be backed up with antibody testing at the appropriate time. What a waste of money when you've already all but tested conclusively hiv negative.

If you're still having unprotected intercourse with people of unknown (or poz) hiv status, then you need to stop doing that - or look into taking Truvada as PrEP.

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 lasally

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Ann, after reading your answer yesterday, about the RNA testing, I was really depressed about my decision all night to take that test.  I never would have thought to research it if you didn't say anything.  I honestly thought it was the best test anyone could get, at least that's what was implied to me.  Also, seeing how it delivers false positives is making me ill. I am almost tempted to never read the results and just go back and get tested with the normal HIV test when I hit the 12 week mark. Why in the world didn't they educate me more about this test? You're right, this has been costing me tons of money, but I am more than willing to pay when it comes to something as serious as this. Because of all the money I spent, I can barely even afford to eat this week. I didn't care about that because I thought I was getting a great test, turns out not so!

To answer your other question about not being protected, it's because I am dumb and terribly insecure. It was really hard for me to tell him I had herpes and when he accepted me , I was pretty confidant that he must really like me if he accepted me for my herpes! However, I was so consumed with what i had , I never even though to question what he may have had.   I will not put myself in this position again Ann. You're so right. Now I just have to wait I guess.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2014, 07:54:38 AM by lasally »

Online Ann

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Sally,

The test you had on the 17th isn't going to change. If you had been infected more than six weeks previously, you would have already tested positive. I'm not sure if the 17th was ten or eleven weeks, but regardless, you are NOT going to suddenly seroconvert and test positive at this late stage.

You need to stop stigmatising yourself over having herpes. Up to 80% of Americans will test positive for herpes. Big deal.

If you keep taking valcyclovir (acyclovir is available as a much cheaper generic and it's every bit as effective) you're extremely unlikely to infect anyone else with it. I've had genital herpes (but type 1) for nearly 34 years and I've never passed it on to anyone else. Nor have I felt the need to inform every single partner I've ever had that I have it.

Nor have I felt bad about myself for having it. Shit happens, you know?

You also need to realise that stigmatising yourself over having a virus is stigmatising every single other person out there who also has that virus. It's no different to stigmatising people who have other medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes or even the common cold - which is also a virus, by the way.

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 lasally

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Ann, you mistaken me. I am in no way stigmatizing it. When I said I was insecure ( I assume that's where you thought I was stigmatizing myself), I mean I am insecure in general and waaayyyyyyyy before I even got herpes.

The risk even I was speaking of happened on March 1st and I took a test on May 16th and 17th (The Oraquick mouth swab test, I took two of them in total. One on the 16th and one on the 17th). I think that is eleven weeks if I am not mistaken. I only say this in case anyone who comes across this thread in the future is wondering.

Thank you
« Last Edit: May 20, 2014, 08:25:10 AM by lasally »

Online Ann

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When I said I was insecure ( I assume that's where you thought I was stigmatizing myself),


No, it was this:


It was really hard for me to tell him I had herpes and when he accepted me , I was pretty confidant that he must really like me if he accepted me for my herpes! However, I was so consumed with what i had , I never even though to question what he may have had.


Herpes really isn't that big a deal in the greater scheme of things.

But anyway, this is an hiv website and the bottom line for you concerning hiv is - your eleven week negative is not going to change. There's nothing more to add to this.

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 lasally

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Yes ma'am. Thank you.

Offline lasally

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I got my test back earlier than expected.

It says

HIV 1 RNA Qualitative - Non Reactive

HIV 1 RNA - not detected

CLSI recommends  considering getting HIV 2- nucliec acid testing if clinically indicated.

I don't know what the last part means or why it didn't test for HIV 2 to begin with is beyond me , but I think this concludes it for me. With two oraquick test and now this test, what more can I do? Thank you everybody.

Online Ann

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Sally,

The test you used are what we call "viral load" (VL) tests and they only detect hiv-1. It's another good reason why they are not used as diagnostic tests.

Their main purpose is to monitor those of us who actually have hiv.

A poz person whose treatment is successful will have the same result as you did - we call it being "undetectable" or "UD". Achieving UD status is the main goal of treatment. (And some people, called elite controllers, will often have that result without treatment - yet another good reason why they're not used as diagnostic tests.)

In your case, hiv-2 nucleic acid testing (NAT) is NOT clinically indicated. Hiv-2 is rare outside of west Africa and a few pockets of immigration such as in France.

Once again, your negative antibody test result is NOT going to change when/if you test at twelve weeks. The antibody tests routinely in use today DO test for both hiv-1 and hiv-2, so don't even dream of trying to go down that road with us.

Give it up. You don't have hiv and at this point, with your prior testing history, a test at twelve weeks is more a formality for your own peace of mind than anything else.

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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