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Author Topic: symptoms, elisa, and window period  (Read 2696 times)

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Offline robbiek

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symptoms, elisa, and window period
« on: December 01, 2008, 08:14:52 AM »
I had a questionable sex encounter last June in which I was the bottom in anal sex. The other guy used a condom, but I can't tell for sure if it broke or not. The reason I wonder about it is that he acted very strangely after the encounter.

Anyway, 6 weeks later the lymph nodes under both my armpits began to swell up. I had never had this problem before. In the past 6 months, the swelling has come and gone a few times. Right now, I have some minor swelling in the left armpit but the right armpit is fine. I didn't have any other symptoms. I also don't have any issues that could delay seroconversion--chemotherapy or drug use, co-infections, etc.

I had Elisa tests for hiv done at 14 weeks, at 18 weeks, and at 23 weeks. All of these tests were negative. From what I read at this site, it seems that I should be able to conclude that hiv infection is not the cause of my symptoms. But I keep running into web posts that claim that even at 6 months there's still a very small probability that a negative elisa test could be hiding a real infection.

Please help me clarify what these negative tests mean. I would so much like to put this horrible worry behind. In case it matters, both the 18 week and 23 week tests were done through Home Access.

Thank you.

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: symptoms, elisa, and window period
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2008, 08:26:47 AM »
What those negative tests mean conclusively is that you are HIV negative. Whatever is causing your swollen lymph nodes, (and the potential causes are many), has nothing to do with HIV. In fact, given what you described of the condom-protected intercourse you never needed to test at all. Condoms provide very effective protection. If you use one everytime you have intercourse you will be very effectively protected against HIV transmission.

Avoid handling, squeezing, pressing or otherwise bothering your lymph nodes. They are very sensitive to the touch and doing any of that stuff can cause a worse problem. Discuss the issue with your doctor. This is not an HIV situation and no further testing is necessary.

Good luck with finding out what the real cause of the swelling is.

Andy Velez

Offline robbiek

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Re: symptoms, elisa, and window period
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2008, 08:43:59 AM »

Thank you for your reply. It's what I expected to hear. The reason I posted in the first place was a post at the Medhelp forum that the doctors seemed to agree with indicating that even after 24 weeks there was a 1/1000 chance the Elisa test would be wrong. Is this information correct? And if so, what types of people would this apply to?

As the people in this forum know, the stress and worry over the past 6 months has been almost unbearable.

Thank you again.

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: symptoms, elisa, and window period
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2008, 08:59:37 AM »
Rob, I'm not willing to get into a conversation about so called 1/1000 re ELISA. We know from experience that the ELISA is very accurate at 13 weeks. The CDC is very conservative about testing and has for quite some time advocated a reliable result at 13 weeks.

The exceptions are for when extensive IV drug use is involved, organ transplant and cancer treatment and such which result in a severely compromised immune system.

Give it up, guy. You're HIV negative. Period. End of story. Whatever your problem is, it's not HIV.

Andy Velez


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