[Question #5382] ARS Concerns 2

22 months ago

Apologies as I appreciate this is probably an anxiety driven question of which you are trying to avoid

As you can see from my last post, I had a risk & blacked out

I am taking a 3rd gen ECLIA home test on Monday (I’m in Japan & struggling to find a better option) 44 days post-incident but have been told it will be 7days for results, the prospect of another 10 days from now until I know is killing me

Dr H’s words were initially reassuring but the more I have thought about the symptoms the more I have continued to worry badly, effecting my job/sleep etc. Dr H’s words did reassure me but 33 days after my incident I got the same cramp/pain that I’d had previously all up my left shoulder/neck and focused at the base of my skull, as well as on off headaches, these pains have got better/worst but are always present for the last 8 days. I have also developed 2/3 mouth ulcers, achy thighs and my finger tips are dry/cracked

Could these symptoms be indicative of something? Could my 22 day home P24 and AgAb/Duo have been inaccurate due to something I did incorrectly when taking blood; not dried my finger properly, not provided enough blood, not wiped away the first drop of blood or the way I scraped my finger along the vial top or squeezed it to get more blood in?

Following your response I will not reply until after my test on Monday, as I know it can’t change but I felt I needed to speak to someone, I am very isolated in Japan. Dr H seemed so sure before, does this change anything?

H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
22 months ago
I’m sorry, but having reviewed your recent previous question and my replies, I really have nothing more to add. Your symptoms are not possibly due to HIV, period. The home self tests for HIV are pretty much foolproof, even with poor attention to the package instructions. They had to be in order to get regulatory approval in countries where they are marketed. As discussed last time, a negative result at three weeks proves that any symptoms before or after that time cannot be from HIV. And your symptoms are not all suggestive of a new HIV infection. They are more typical for physical manifestations of anxiety and stress.

You will have your next test result in a few days. It will be negative. Try to mellow out and stop worrying in the meantime.  I won’t have any other advice or comments until you report that test result on the forum, if you wish to do so.

HHH, MD
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22 months ago

Dr H, despite the fact I’ve still been having pretty constant headaches, neck/shoulder pain, some chest rash and sore, achy legs/thighs over the last week or so I am delighted to say my 3rd gen ECLIA home test at 42 days was -ve! 

Sorry for my neurotic emails, I was more scared than you can imagine.


The Dr’s email said at 42 days it’s only an indication and I must wait 90 days, is this the case?

Would you wait for 90 days test to have unprotected sex?

I assume the home test is no less accurate than clinic testing?

Would you be concerned with my symptoms despite my test result?

H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
22 months ago
Official advice from some agencies continues to be final testing at 3 months, but it is truly unnecessary. The science behind 6 weeks for conclusive results is solid, but some agencies and doctors continue to take overly conservative stances.

Your assumption about home self testing isn't quite accurate. All experts believe that, when available, lab based tests are better than home-based or other rapid tests. On the other hand, let's say your risk of HIV from your exposure was one chance in a million. (Since it was heterosexual in a low risk country, that's probably a fair guess.) Even if the home test is "only" 99% accurate, the negative result reduces the chance you have HIV to 1 chance in 100 million. Obviously that is zero for all practical purposes. But up to you if you feel you need a 100% conclusive test result.

It is not possible to have HIV symptoms with negative test results. Your negative result is 100% proof that something other than HIV explains your symptoms. If I were in your situation, I would not be at all concerned -- and might not have ever been tested in the first place.
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22 months ago
Hi Doc,
I would just like to thank you again for your assistance, as soon as I got the negative result my painful/aching legs subsided, my headaches have been much less & although my painful/tight neck/shoulder is still there it has considerably lessened.

I’ve developed a sore throat with white ulcers at the back on my throat but imagine this is coincidental? Not something you would be worried about?

Feeling much better but I think will try & get a final 90 day test with a doctor to be sure & put it to bed.
Apologies again for anything irrational & annoying I asked, I am typically very boring, never cheated, never been with a SW, never have unprotected sex out with long term relationships & feel I have a lot to lose, something that intensified as I had night sweats and “symptoms”
You do an amazing job! Thanks again! Hoping to put this behind me and focus on my relationship and my life going forward!
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
22 months ago
No apology necessary and thanks for the thanks.

However, I do need to ask you to adhere to forum policy going forward. The forum does not permit repeated questions on the same topic or exposure. This will have to be your last one; future new questions about this exposure, testing, and your fears about HIV or other STDs 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 temptations to keep paying for questions with obvious answers. In addition, experience shows that continued answers tend to prolong users' anxieties rather than reducing them. Finally, such questions have little educational value for other users, one of the forum's main purposes. I trust you will understand.

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