[Question #638] Can I move on?

56 months ago
Hi Doctor, 

I had multiple unprotected  sexual encounters with a man of unknown status, all vaginal. It was stupid and has caused very much anxiety in my life since. I have since then tested negative during my STD screening at 12 weeks (HIV combo test, chlamidiya, gonorrhea, syphilis). I also did another duo test at 15 weeks which was negative. I understand that 3 months is considered conclusive for hiv.
1) is there any possibility that I may convert late and test positive at another time in terms of this partner? I haven't had a partner since 
2) what do you mean by conclusive? Does that mean there is absolutely no chance you have hiv at the time of the test, and if that 3 months , you do not have HIV 100%? 
3) I know studies are very accurate but is there any likelihood that 3 months isn't in fact an accurate window period? That the window period should be longer? 

My primary concern is that the tests I have had done did not for some reason pick up the ag/ab and that I am indeed infected or that for whatever reason I am negative now but will test positive a couple months from now, when there are higher levels of antibodies. 

Thanks in advance. 

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

Welcome to our Forum.  I will be pleased to address your questions.  Before I get to the specific questions you ask, let me remind you that most people do not have STIs, thus it is more likely than not that your partner did not have HIV or other STIs. 

With respect to your specific questions:

1) is there any possibility that I may convert late and test positive at another time in terms of this partner? I haven't had a partner since 
You are in the clear.  Your 12 week tests prove this.  In addition, that you did not get HIV is confirmed by the fact that your DUO test was also negative at 15 weeks,  The DUO tests are conclusive, providing reliable results at any time more than 4 weeks after an encounter.

2) what do you mean by conclusive? Does that mean there is absolutely no chance you have hiv at the time of the test, and if that 3 months , you do not have HIV 100%? 
Conclusive means completely reliable.  You can believe the results.

3) I know studies are very accurate but is there any likelihood that 3 months isn't in fact an accurate window period? That the window period should be longer? 
No, with two negative tests (the 12 week test and the DUO, your results are solid.  There is no reason for continuing concern and no reason related to your past exposures to this partner to worry further.

I hope my comments are helpful to you.  Take care.  EWH
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56 months ago
Hi Doctor, thanks for your reply. 

I was wondering why the CDC state that hiv tests are only 97% accurate at 3 months? why might that be? also i heard of some nurses that took longer than 3 months and up to a year to test positive, again why would that be? I am just very concerned that the 15 week negative test may change to a positive later on due to the 3% or 0.01% chance. I know health professionals cannot say anything is 100%, is that because there are always outliers? I am worried that i might be an outlier who for some reason has a suppressed immune system that is causing the DUO test to be negative.

From your own clinical experience/what you have heard/clinical trials, has anyone taken longer than 3 months?
What is the likelihood at this point that a 15 week negative will be positive at 6 months? 
How accurate exactly is a DUO test at 3 months? I know ALL tests are either 97% or 99.99% accurate at 3 months, i'm just confused on the specifics of the DUO. 
If you were in my situation, what would you do?
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
56 months ago

The CDC, as a politicized organization tends to be conservative in their recommendations.  In your case, with two negative tests, each at 12 or more weeks since your exposure, there is no realistic chance, even considering outliers, that you acquired HIV from the exposures you have described.  You are more likely to be stuck by a meteorite falling from space!  Thus, in answer to your (repetitive) questions my answers will not change:


From your own clinical experience/what you have heard/clinical trials, has anyone taken longer than 3 months?
I have never had a patient seroconvert to HIV more than 3 months after exposure.

What is the likelihood at this point that a 15 week negative will be positive at 6 months? 
100% unless you have been exposed to an infected partner in the time in between.

How accurate exactly is a DUO test at 3 months? I know ALL tests are either 97% or 99.99% accurate at 3 months, i'm just confused on the specifics of the DUO. 
If you were in my situation, what would you do?

The DUO tests are completely reliable at 3 months

Once last time, I urge you to believe your test results.  You did not get HIV from the exposures you describe.  EWH

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