[Question #4778] HIV test results

28 months ago
Hi doctor, I had unprotected sex on September 6th, 2018 with a woman. I asked her and she said she had no STI's but I was still worried. I tested for every STI and came out negative. HIV is scaring the hell out of me, though. I tested negative at 54 days, 71 days and at 118 days. Should I be worried or am I in the clear? I also may be overreacting I am an anxious person
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
28 months ago
Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your question.

First, probably you should not have been seriously worried about HIV even if you had not been tested. The average frequency of HIV in even the most sexually active younger women in the North America and Western Europe is around 1 in a thousand. And when a woman has HIV, the risk from a single episode of unprotected vaginal sex is around one transmission for every 2500 exposures. (That's why many spouses of infected persons never catch HIV themselves -- which most people don't know.) If these numbers apply to your situation -- of course there are no guarantees -- then the chance you caught HIV was around 1 in 250,000.

Second, your test results are conclusive. There are a few kinds of HIV test, and some older versions took 90 days for conclusive results. And some, such as the oral fluids HIV test, never become positive in 2-3% of infected persons. However, if you were tested with one of the most commonly used tests (an antigen-antibody test, also called combo, duo, and 4th generation test), your first result at 54 days was 100% conclusive. These tests detect any and all HIV infections by 6 weeks.

So almost certainly you are in the clear. But perhaps I'll have an additional comment if you'd like to report exactly what test(s) you had at each time.

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

HHH, MD
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28 months ago
So at the 54 days i had an antibody and antigen test i believe. Day 71 was one of the rapid tests where you prick your finger. And the last day i went to a clinic and had bloodwork done.  Also, i developed folliculitis on the back of my neck, on my forearms and stomach. Its not heavy, just a few bumps and not at all itchy. I've had it for a while though. I am taking doxycycline tablets and using clindamycin phosphate gel to clear it up. I should note that i have long hair. Should i be worried about this? 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
28 months ago
OK, those test results are 100% conclusive. Folliculitis (by itself without other symptoms) doesn't even hint at HIV, and in any case test results overrule everything else. Even if you had typical HIV symptoms or a much higher risk exposure, it doesn't matter. For sure you don't have it.---
27 months ago
Hi once again doctor. I am not worried but I have developed these red blotches on my palms. I should mention that I have eczema on my inner elbows and I do have hyperhydrosis. There is no itching but I just want to make sure there is nothing wrong. 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
27 months ago
As I said, your test result show that these skin changes are not due to HIV or any other STI. Otherwise I have no comment or advice about them, except the obvious one:  see a doctor or clinic if you remain concerned about it.

That completes two follow-up comments and replies and so concludes this thread. I hope the discussion has been helpful. Best wishes and stay safe!
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