[Question #1291] Oraquick Reliability

47 months ago
I asked a couple of questions about my exposure over the summer and I fully understand it was a low risk encounter and that's allowed me to move and live a normal life so my question is not about that.

At the 12 week mark from exposure I did take an Oraquick Test out of an abundance of caution and the result was negative.  Since that time everything has been great and I haven't really thought much about it, at the same time I've had a persistent sore throat that I've been keeping an eye on but was still not worried about it being STD related.  Well over the past couple of weeks I've experienced what I consider to be Thrush, about a week and a half ago my tongue was burning for 1-2 days and then it eventually went away up until yesterday when it came back.  The idea of Thrush wasn't even on my radar until I did some more research it sounds like exactly what I have, my tongue even seems white although not as much as some of the pictures you'd see online associated with Thrush.  My doctor will confirm tomorrow (hopefully) whether or not it is Thrush but what I've read makes me think that normal healthy people don't get Thrush, its those that have compromised immune systems that typically would (like someone with HIV).  This all lead me to take another Oraquick Test today at 18 weeks from exposure and got another negative result.

I know everyone has said it's conclusive after 12 weeks but should I 100% hang my hat on that statistic or should I do further testing if it Thrush on my tongue?  I did see a number that Oraquick is 91% accurate on identifying those that are positive, that is somewhat a cause for concern... does 2 Oraquick Tests increase that number or does the 91% stay consistent regardless of how many tests?

Thanks for the help.
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
47 months ago
Sorry, but I disagree withy your statement that your question is not about your previous zero risk exposure. That is exactly what you are asking about. As you were told and claim you understand, there was no chance of HIV from that event. Therefore, of there have been no other possible exposures, you cannot have HIV; and any symptoms you have mush have another explanation.

It is true that the oral fluids test (Oraquick) is considered conclusive at 3 months. Although some early studied indicated it was somewhat less than 100% (I cannot vouch for the 91% figure), in the real world of HIV testing, nobody ever turns out to have HIV after a negative Oraquick result at 3+ months. And the chance that two separate Oraquicks would both be false is zero for all practical purposes.

But if you remain concerned despite such extensive, repeated, science based reassurance, why not have a lab based test? Maybe that negative result would help you finally move on without worry.

HHH, MD

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47 months ago
I agree that my previous exposure is the reason for my new question, I just didn't want to rehash those circumstances with you and further waste your time on that.  I got the reassurance that I was looking for in your response.  Thank you very much.