[Question #3982] antidepressants and anti anxiety disorder medicines interfere with hiv testing

31 months ago
Dear Doctor 

Im having a panic attack. After my exposure 11 weeks ago i was diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorder. i was put on the following medicines (anti depressants and anti anxiety )  by a therapist 

Stablon (tianeptine)
Sizedon ( pregablin ) - also used for seizures i read on the internet ( i dont have any seizures ) 
Maxgalin ( risperidone )

I READ YOUR POST that certain medicines including immunodepressants affect hiv testing and window period . 

1. Are any of these medicines immunodepressants or medicines that affect hiv  ? If yes then how many weeks after exposure can i get tested 
2. Is my 11 week negative test on a 4th generation still valid given that im taking my medicines 

My therapist could not answer these questions and therefore im turning towards you once again for help 

please help 


31 months ago
i mean immuno suppressants not depressants 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
31 months ago
Welcome back, but I'm sorry you found it necessary. I'll be handling your question this time, but I reviewed your recent discussion with Dr. Hook.

There are NO medications that have any proved effect on HIV testing accuracy. Even immunosuppressive drugs have little or no effect. in theory, they could reduce antibody production, and thus delay positive results with the antibody-based blood tests. Even this is rare, if it occurs at all. But with the antigen-antibody (4th generation, duo) tests, if there were any reduced antibody production, that could result in INCREASED circulating antigen -- hence the test might actually be positive sooner, not later. In any case, there is no known effect. The AgAb tests are always 100% conclusive any time 6 or more weeks after the last possible exposure. And of course antidepressants have no effect either; no known medications do so.

Therefore, your test results already are 100% conclusive; you do not need another test at 11 weeks or any other time. It doesn't matter what medications you are taking.

I hope this information is helpful. Let me know if anything isn't clear.

HHH, MD

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31 months ago
Dear Doctor 
Thank you for your answers 
1. But HIV 2 has no antigen so wouldn’t it be possible that antigen antibody test would miss it at 8 weeks and get it only at 12 weeks
2. Are any of the medicines I mentioned immunosuppressive. I know you mentioned that no medicines prove it , but it would really help me if these aren’t the immunosuppressive medicines that articles talk about 
I apologise for the repeat questioning. 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
31 months ago
1) No chance. As I said, even before the AgAb tests, delayed or altered test results almost never occurred, even with immunosuppressive drugs. With those tests, even HIV2 positve persons always have positive results by 6 weeks. Always. Believe it!

2) None of your medicines is immunosuppressive. But it wouldn't matter if they were!

It really isn't normal to remain so uncertain or confused in the face of the strong, science based reassurance you have had. You didn't catch HIV, period. Believe it and do your best to move on. If you cannot, it's an issue for discussion with the doctor managing your depression and anxiety disorder.
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31 months ago
Thank you . I will work on my depression. Last point before I sign off forever is that 

Will a corticosteroid eye drop that Iv been taking ( Vigadexa) change my results ? I assume not
31 months ago
Right ? 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
31 months ago
Patience, patience! The moderators are not on call 24/7. We attempt to answer follow-up questions within 24-48 hours.

It takes giant doses of very potent immunosuppressive drugs to have any effect, and as discussed above, even these doses rarely have any effect at all. Steroid eyedrops cannot have any effect.

I hope the discussion has been helpful. You needn't be at all worried about HIV.
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