[Question #5958] Impacts on test...results final?

19 months ago
Docs,

Recently have had troubling symptoms. One month ago I took a 4th gen test and results are negative. Two factors that have me concerned about trusting the test result. 

1 - 18 months ago was treated with vaccine for potential rabies exposure (found bat in my house). Can rabies PEP alter my test results? 

2- Long term infection (only possible exposure 11 years ago male-female) not showing up on the test and registering as negative....is that possible? 

I am male and live in the USA. 

Thank you
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
19 months ago
Welcome to the forum and thanks for your confidence in our services. I logged in soon after you posted your question:  most users shouldn't expect nearly real time replies!

For sure you do not have HIV. First, the HIV blood tests -- especially the angien-antibody (AgAb, "4th generation") tests -- are among the most accurate diagnostic tests ever developed, for any medical condition. The results overrule all other considerations:  no matter how hight the risk at the time of a potential exposure, and no matter how typical the symptoms, the test result rules.

To your specific questions:

1.  There are no medical conditions or medications that have any effect on the reliability of the HIV blood tests. That's an urban myth left over from the earliest days of HIV testing, with test methods no longer used. In those days there were worries about profound immune suppressing drugs, chemotherapy, etc; even then, it was very rare, if it occurred at all. Certainly no vaccine, for rabies or anything else, has any effect.

2. Most people with HIV for 11 years would be overtly ill from AIDS and many dead by that time. Given both a negative test result and being healthy at 11 years, for sure you do not have HIV.

I hope these comments are hellpful. Let me know if anything isn't clear.

HHH, MD
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19 months ago
Indeed that was a quick reply! 

To clarify my 2nd concern, I suppose I am "healthy' however I did make a point that I have had some troubling symptoms. Specifically muscle issues and twitches and to me looks like some wasting in legs/hips. Going to see my doc about these issues....just making sure these symptoms are not advanced disease and altering my negative test result. 

H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
19 months ago
These symptoms are not suggestive of HIV, and are not due to anything that could alter your HIV test result. As I said above, your negative AgAb test result overrules these or any other symptoms you have, or that you may develop in the future. (Of course if you have potentially been at risk for HIV since your last negative test, you should be retested.)---
19 months ago
No other risks. Thank you for the clarification and I appreciate your time.
Have a great day!
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
19 months ago
Thanks for the thanks; I'm glad to have helped. That's why we're here.---