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Author Topic: How long from infection to Seroconversion?  (Read 54752 times)

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  • Guest
How long from infection to Seroconversion?
« on: November 22, 2010, 05:58:58 PM »
After being here for a about a month now and reading many of the posts I am confused about seroconversion.
Why does it take the body a while to sero-convert after infection and is this an indicator of when one might have been infected? Also, what was your seroconversion experience?

I think I went through seroconversion the last week of this past September. I was out to dinner on a Friday night with a friend. After we ate and a few drinks later I had this incredible lite headed feeling along with a deep chill. I only had two beers and thought that this was strange that I would be feeling so woozy. Later that night the chills got really bad and I was under a couple of thick blankets to stay warm. My temperature went up to 103.5. By Saturday morning I felt better with a low fever and thought I had a twenty four hour flu or something.  By Saturday night my fever went back up to 103 and stayed high until Monday. I went to the doctor on Tuesday but by then I felt much better. He said to have chicken soup and thought it was a flu as well. I thought differently and went to an ID doctor a week after and discovered I was positive. That was my only symptoms from seroconversion if that was even it. A week after getting my blood work back I decided to just get going with the meds and have been on atripla now for sixteen uneventful days now. For me I didn't see the point in waiting to get another cd4 and vl report to start meds. I knew it was inevitable and wanted to go to war against this thing as soon as I could.

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: How long from infection to Seroconversion?
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2010, 06:42:38 PM »
Statistically, most seroconversion illness takes place within six weeks from exposure. Statistically, this illness presents as a fever, sometimes a rash, or other typical (and very vague) immune response.

For some people, that fever is very high. For some people, the rash is profound. Some people even get hospitalized. Usually when these symptoms begin presenting themselves, the body is well into the process of creating antibodies. It is that process that creates the seroconversion illness, and more often than not, a person will test positive at that time.

Some people do not have any symptoms at all. Sometimes a person can be positive for years without knowing it, get an odd 24-hour flu, get tested (maybe due to a recent sexual event) and then discover they were positive. Sometimes that correlation is confused for causation, though I absolutely make zero assumptions about your own history.

Many gay men, but not all, get tested twice a year for HIV during their sexual lives. I think the percentage of straight men and females who get regularly  tested is much lower. And obviously, testing within the window period (which is almost always less than seven weeks, but CAN be up to three months) is not going to get an accurate reading.

So it is possible to get tested and receive a negative result when a person is, in fact, seroconverting. If there is no seroconversion illness (or none noted) and the individual then tests positive sex months later, it is not unreasonable for that person to assume that they seroconverted during that last interval, even though such an assumption would be inaccurate.

That's the thing. Outside seroconversion illnesses that are so profound as to be completely atypical of a person's medical history, or that require medical intervention, it's really hard to tell.

There are some great arguments for starting meds early, especially given the choices out there these days. The only arguments I find compelling against that choice are financial, and adherence. Meds, as you know, are a tough commitment, and many people, especially younger people, have understandable issues with that level of compliance. Insurance, changing jobs, school, career choices, and financial instability in general (which used to be part and parcel for young people, but now apply to, well, everybody) are also considerations to be taken seriously.

I think it's important to have a backup plan, or at least to know what services are out there, in case a job is lost, or an unrelated accident or injury happens. It's hard to think that far ahead, I know. But it's a lot easier to find that stuff out when a person is not already in panic mode, stressing over loads of stuff at the same time, or sick.

My own seroconversion experience was profound. I was deathly ill for a week, with a fever higher than I had ever experienced. In retrospect, I should have gone to a hospital. But I was 27, a little stupid, and arrogant enough to think I could tough it out, whatever it was. I did, of course - but I also tested positive three months later during a routine test. having been monogamous with my partner, and having had unprotected anal sex with that partner exclusively for the previous year, mine was pretty much a no-brainer to figure out.

I got on meds as soon as I found out as well. That was actually the protocol in 1993. Of course, the only med I had was rather high doses of AZT, and that stuff really did a number on me. Been on and off meds ever since. I can't help but wonder if my first experience with HIV meds had been a little kinder, if I would not have had the adherence issues I have had.

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread


  • Guest
Re: How long from infection to Seroconversion?
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2010, 06:49:54 PM »
Thanks for the info and sharing your experience. I am sure that must of been a very difficult time for you. From what I read AZT was a nasty tough drug. I don't think I would have been able to do it at 27!
Glad you are doing well and pulled through it all.

Offline vaboi

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Re: How long from infection to Seroconversion?
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2010, 03:34:19 AM »
Seroconversion happened about a week after infection for me and lasted about 5 days.  Yes, the fever was bad, and probably the worst I ever had, but simply taking something like Excedrin, Back & Body (Acetaminophen & Aspirin) every 4-6 hours kept it down.

You can tell if your illness was actually hiv seroconversion just by looking at your first viral load count.  If it's around a million or more, you know it's from the hiv.  I was able to convince the doc to give me a VL test instead of an antibody test when I went in because I pretty much knew what likely was happening.

I had other unexplained milder fevers and chills in the past, but it was never anything like this.  It makes me wonder though, maybe one of those instances is when I was seroconverting for CMV.

Offline mikeyb39

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Re: How long from infection to Seroconversion?
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2010, 11:57:07 AM »
hi there,

seroconversion happened about 3 to 4 weeks after infection.  I was in denver on vacation and woke up to head home and my body ached pretty badly, didnt think too much of it with all the running around i was doing. by the time my plane landed in dallas i had a fever of 101. the next day more body aches, felt like i was dying, went to the dr and got test, came back positive after everything else was ruled out.

my dr took tons of blood work for DNA/RNA/CDR to see what meds i could take, so had to wait 2 weeks for that. I was sick for 3 weeks, then i started feeling lot better, but me and my doc agreed to have me go ahead and start meds.  Some folks wait for a while and some folks start earlier. Doc says in the past some folks didnt start meds until they got an illness, i didnt want my immune system to get to that point, its just a personal decision each person has to make.

11/02/2010  cd4-251, vl-591000
12/09/2010  started Atripla
02/18/2011  cd4-425, vl-800
06/10/2011  cd4-447, vl-70
10/10/2011  cd4-666, vl-80
01/05/2012  swiched med (prezista,norvir ,isentress, )
02/10/2012  cd4-733, vl-UD  Viread removed
06/10/2012  cd4-614, vl-UD
12/14/2012  cd4-764, vl-UD
09/01/2013  cd4-785, vl-UD
03/06/2014. cd4- 1078, VL-UD
09/05/2014  cd4-850 , VL-UD
09/05/2014 switched meds isentress, prezcobix -still only two antivirals
10/14/2015  cd4-600 , VL-UD

Offline Maelrod

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Re: How long from infection to Seroconversion?
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2010, 12:16:45 PM »
I believe is between 4 and 6 weeks   from 1/2 November 2009 when i slept w HIV was like on January first i had a fever for 3 days was only the simtomps i saw. after that i used to be tired take a nap every day after work  and told my bf i was getting old. I on that moment o though was just a cold ahh and this summer i had the must bad allergies of my life...Now I'm HIV poz, afraid to develop a new ill
« Last Edit: December 12, 2010, 02:48:56 PM by Maelrod »
Is better STOp living in the past, the I SHOULDn't doesn't exist.

Offline Hoover

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Re: How long from infection to Seroconversion?
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2010, 01:14:41 PM »
About four weeks after exposure I got flue like symptoms and felt like hell!
Weeks later my jaw hurt so bad I could not chew food and thought it was a sinus infection or tooth ache.
Dentist ruled out tooth issue and my doctor realized my lymph nodes were all swollen and had me checked for HIV.
My CD4s were low and my ID doctor wanted to put me on meds, but I opted to wait and see how things went before going there. My last CD4s were over 700 and I expect them to increase.
My partner is now in the same boat and we are going to see where his CD4s go.
His cd4 was 411 and he has Candida often...

We will avoid the meds as long as our numbers hold out.
With the exception of the HIV, we are healthier now than we have been since we were in our twenties.

Hoover & Dr. T
Infection date: March 16, 2010
20/05/10 - CD4 348  VL 58,000  Lymph nodes in jaw painful!  Antioxidants started.
01/06/10 - CD4 428  VL?
24/06/10 - CD4 578  VL 9,800
13/07/10 - CD4 620  VL?
04/09/10 - CD4 648  VL?
01/11/10 - CD4 710  VL?   CD8 972
16/12/10    CD4 738  VL?  CD8  896   
02/02/11    CD4 520 (month of parasites and new lab)
14/03/11 started Truvida and Sustiva (Efavirenz)
04/07/11 CD4 686 VL 75 CD8 588  41%
10/10/11 CD4 757  45%  VL UD

Offline buginme2

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Re: How long from infection to Seroconversion?
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2010, 01:18:52 PM »
I didnt have any symptoms.  No fever, No rash, Nothing.  I kinda wish I did have something hit me hard as I would probably have been diagnosed earlier. 
Don't be fancy, just get dancey

Offline Realist

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  • Posts: 162
    • NotDownNotOut's Blog
Re: How long from infection to Seroconversion?
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2010, 01:57:25 PM »
I didnt have any symptoms.  No fever, No rash, Nothing.  I kinda wish I did have something hit me hard as I would probably have been diagnosed earlier. 

23/02/10 Tests confirmed
25/02/10 13100 220 24%
12/03/10 19800 372 19%
26/03/10 Atripla
30/04/10 58 286 23%
28/05/10 45 222 21%
25/06/10 UD 301 23%
24/09/10 UD 283 22%
01/12/10 UD 319 23%
11/03/11 UD 293 28%
10/06/11 UD 423 24%
23/08/11 UD 389 26%
28/02/11 UD 315 34%

I blogged it all http://notdownnotout.blogspot.com

Offline HippieLady

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  • Posts: 219
Re: How long from infection to Seroconversion?
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2010, 03:01:26 PM »
I started to get sick a few weeks after exposure, I don't remember the exact timeline.  It started with flu-like symptoms with a very high fever.  I was tested for strep throat and mono and they were both negative but I was put on antibiotics anyway.  I had swollen lymph nodes in my head, neck and jaw.  I also developed a rash on my knees and elbows, it was very itchy and raised.  My hair also was falling out at a very high rate leaving me with bald spots.  All in all, I was sick for about two months with the rash and hair loss the last to end. 

I had numerous appointments during the time of my illness with many doctors and not one suspected testing me for HIV.  It was two years later that I got a diagnosis.  During that time I knew something was not right, I felt like something was going on in my body.
Diagnosed HIV+ April 30, 2010

Current CD4-638  VL-UD  11/2013


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