[Question #2223] Dry blood and Rapid HIV Test

48 months ago
Hello -- Today, I did a rapid HIV test at a local progressive health clinic. The organization's website indicates that the test was either a first generation or second generation test. My test came back negative, but I have a question: it necessary that the test be carried out on fresh/wet blood? The person who administered my test seemed a little bit out of it. Eleven minutes after drawing my blood and putting it onto the small tray/stick, she announced that she had forgotten to mix a "drop" (i.e. clear liquid solution) into the blood. So, at that point, she grabbed the solution and put a drop into the (now completely dry) blood that had been sitting in the small tray/stick for 11 minutes. I asked her if that mattered and she said it didn't -- she said the blood could be totally dry and it wouldn't matter. I'm wondering if I need to get tested again or if I can trust the negative result. Thanks!
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
48 months ago
This is your sixth question on the forum, all of them concerning obviously low or zero riske vents. From my last comment, two questions ago:  "...we don't have as much patience as you might think. Repeated anxiety driven questions about low risk exposures are not permitted on this forum. This will have to be your last question along these lines. Any further ones will be deleted without reply, and without refund of the posting fee.  If and when you start having unprotected intercourse (vaginal or anal) with new, unknown, or otherwise high risk partners, you should be worried about HIV. But not until then."

The second part of that quote also covers this question. Nobody in the world ever caught HIV through having blood drawn, at least not in the past 30+ years since all clinics worldwide stopped reusing the same needles on different patients. You can trust the negative result you have and and never, ever need another HIV test until and unless you have unprotected sex or start using drugs with shared injection equipment.

Here is our current version of the standard warning. It will be enforced from here on:  Please note that the forum does not permit repeated questions on the same topic or exposure, especially when the questions are obviously driven by anxiety or when there is apparently difficulty in believing or accepting advice already given. This will have to be your last one; future questions on this topic or obviously non-risky events will be deleted without reply and without refund of the posting fee. This policy is based on compassion, not criticism, and is designed to reduce the temptation to keep paying for questions with obvious answers; because experience shows that continued answers tend to prolong users’ anxieties, when professional counseling often would be a better approach; and because repeat or anxiety driven questions have little educational value for other users, one of the forum’s main purposes. Thank you for your understanding.

HHH, MD
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48 months ago
Ok, no more questions, Dr. But you obviously didn't read this one. My question wasn't about catching HIV from a blood draw! It was about the validity of a test that doesn't add the solution/drop until 11 minutes after the blood was drawn.
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
48 months ago
Sorry I missed it. But you really needn't worry about that aspect either. The rapid tests were designed to be highly forgiving -- minor or even major deviations from the instructions don't make much difference. In approving the tests, the FDA assumed that relatively untrained persons (i.e., not laboratory experts) wouldn't pay much attention to the details. You needn't worry about that aspect.

Cheers--  HHH, MD

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