[Question #6358] HIV testing window period

17 months ago

Hi,


60 days ago I had a massage in Vietnam where I received a handjob and anal fingering which lasted for about 3 minutes. I’m not worried about the handjob but about the finger being inserted quite deep in my anus. 


From my reading, I realize that this is low risk for HIV but I can’t get the possibility out of my head that she may have had a cut on her finger that may have actively bled while inside my anus. At the time I didn’t get a look at her hands to see if this was the case. 


So I’ve had a lot of HIV tests since - All have been confirmed 4th generation tests at day 16, 28, 33, 39, 43, 50, 58 - all negative results. I also had a test today at 60 days which was negative but I'm not sure if it was a 4th generation test as I didn't ask.


But what continues to worry me is that I often see mentioned on the Internet a 3 month (or even 6 month) window period for HIV tests.


And for the last test (day 60, result negative) I did it at a new hospital and the nurse who gave me the result told me to test again in 3 months which alarmed me. 


However, I’ve also read on the CDC website that 4th generation tests are 99% sure at 42 days - yet that 1% left still makes me anxious - particularly considering from day 48 to day 55 I had a minor sore throat (no other symptoms). 


Admittingly I went to a doctor (infectious disease expert) for the 16th and 28th day HIV test results and he told me that the results are conclusive.  


So I’d like to know if this is enough testing and can I move on? Or should I get another test at 3 months or in 3 months to conclusively rule out HIV?


Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
17 months ago

Welcome to our Forum.  I'll  be glad to provide some information and a bit of explanation which I hope you will find helpful.  Even before I discuss tests however, let me tell you that the events you describe we no risk events.  HIV is NOT transmitted through receipt of masturbation even when it includes insertion of a finger deep into the rectum.  This is the case even if your masseuse had a cut on her finger.  Had you asked if you needed testing at all, I would have said no. 

As far as testing is concerned, I agree entirely with the infectious disease doctor you spoke to.  Your results are entirely conclusive, as have been all tests taken in the interval since 42 days had passed after your massage.  The CDC is a conservative organization who takes the position that they cannot "afford" to ever be wrong.  As a result, they state that 4th generation test results taken after 42 days are "more than 99%" conclusive.  The fact is that my colleagues there state they are aware of "a few" cases which seroconverted after 42 days but there are no publications or series of such cases and we have never seen or heard of such a case.  As for the internet or others who have told you that testing needs to be done at three months of beyond, they are out of date.  The tests for HIV have evolved tremendously over the past decade and the three month recommendation is out of date and not correct for current tests. 

Bottom line- your exposure was no risk, your test results prove that even the speculative, theoretical possibility of having been infected has been proven not to be the case.  I urge you to accept that you were not infected, stop testing and move forward without concern regarding the exposure you have described.  EWH

---
17 months ago
Thank you for the information.  It's provided me with a lot of relief!  Time to get on with my life. 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
17 months ago
Glad I could help.  EWH
---