[Question #2052] Testing?

48 months ago
Doctors. I know you advised that the risk of HIV from a handjob is nill. That being said I had generalized lymph swelling which we discussed and my doctor confirmed. My doctor ended up having a Combo test at 12 and 32 days . I also had an Aptima  RNA test at 20 days, all are negative. Long story short I had a follow up visit with my doctor and he ordered me to do an HIV test in August, 6 months from my first test. His reasoning was "to finish out the testing process". I am just confused about why he would order it. And also do I really need more testing and if so should I do another combo test today at 6 weeks post handjob/massage.
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
48 months ago
One of the consistent themes of this forum, and among all HIV experts -- and which was reflected (if not stated outright) in your previous threads -- is that the HIV blood tests are among the most accurate diagnostic tests ever developed, for any medical condition. If done sufficiently long after the last possible exposure -- the exact timing depending on the particular test or combination of tests -- the results always overrule all other factors. No matter how high the risk of infection might have seemed at the time, and no matter what symptoms are present or how typical they are for a new HIV infection, the test results rule. Your results prove you did not catch HIV. Period. There are no exceptions.

As for your doctor's suggestion of yet another test in August, for the reasons above, I see no need. However, some doctors are a bit nervous about the 4 week standard and don't consider the combo test conclusive until 6 weeks. Presumably this includes your doctor. If you go ahead with another test at that time, you can count on another negative result. You had a zero risk exposure that carried no chance of catching HIV, plus a test that is 100% conclusive already, or very close to it.

Best regards--  HHH, MD

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H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
48 months ago
With apology, I misread your doctor's advice as 6 weeks, not 6 months. That interval is truly unnecessary. With the earlier HIV antibody tests in common use until ~2000, it sometimes took up to 3 months for measurable antibody to develop. There was never a need to wait as long as 6 months for conclusive testing, although occasional physicians and HIV experts recommended waiting that long, to provide a large margin of safety. However, that is seriously outmoded advice. Trust me on this:  all experts consider the 4th generation (combo) tests valid at 4 weeks and for sure by 6 weeks. This includes some of the most respected HIV/STD clinics and testing centers.

Further, combination results are even more reliable. With negative combo test at 32 days and RNA at 20 days, there is simply no chance you caught HIV. Not to mention that there has never been a proved (or to my knowledge, even suspected) case of HIV transmission by hand-genital contact.

Sorry for any confusion about the timing. Let me know if anything isn't clear.

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48 months ago
Thanks for the response. I apologise for the repetitive questions. I had taken your advice, but when my doctor mentioned another test it through me off. I ended up having another combo test done at 6 weeks, which was this past Friday. It was negative. Thanks for your response. I was just very confused about my doctor's suggestions.
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
48 months ago
Thanks for the thanks. I'm glad to have helped and to learn of your latest negative test. For sure you don't need any more tests (and would not even if the exposure had been more risky).

Best wishes and stay safe.

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