[Question #3395] 9 week antibody only test

38 months ago
Hello, 
I have a concern about a previous encounter. I am a 27 year old female. Had a one time exposure: gave unprotected oral sex to male/ protected vaginal intercourse. Exactly 9 weeks and 1 day after incident I went to OBGYN for annual check up. I had her do full STD panel( blood test) not because of symptoms just because I always have her do it.  Everything came back normal including HIV ( lab results only state ab so I assume it was antibody only) My concern is that now that I have googled symptoms of HIV ( I know I shouldn’t) I can’t be sure that I didn’t experience a fever or swollen lymph nodes after exposure. In fact I am remembering being quite tired the weeks following. Also I have always gotten canker sores but now have anxiety that perhaps they are occurring more regularly. The forum is pretty consistent that an antibody only test after 8 weeks can be considered conclusive. But most of the users have had multiple tests and I only had one. Can one antibody only test be trusted at 9 weeks post exposure or should another one be done to confirm?  I appreciate the time you all take to respond! 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
38 months ago
Welcome to our Forum  I'll be glad to comment.  Currently available tests for HIV, either the antibody test or the combination HIV antigen/antibody test, are amongst the most reliable tests in all of medicine and I can see no medical reason for additional testing.  Please remember that it is unlikely that your partner had HIV and that the risk of acquisition on HIV from performing unprotected oral sex on an infected male is less than one infection in 10,000 sex acts (and your condom protected vaginal sex was safe sex).  Then factor in the 99.9%+ accuracy of the HIV test at nine weeks and you can see that your likelihood of having been infected with HIV from the counter you describe is less than 1 in a hundred million.  You are far more likely to be struck by lightening than to have acquired HIV from the encounter you have described.  I see no medical reason for further testing.

I hope my comments are helpful.  If some part of this explanation is unclear, please use your follow-up questions to seek clarification.  EWH
P.S.  I know you know this but please stay off the internet on this topic.  EWH
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38 months ago
Got it. Thanks for replying.