[Question #6454] HIV RISK AND TESTING?

15 months ago

Somewhere around mid Feb this year i had anal sex with a csw. 27 days later  i took an HIV duo test and that came back negative. I had a further retest on the 31st of May(approx 3.5 months later) in Pakistan in a well known pathology lab and that too came back negative. 


Between my test in May and now, I have had skin rashes and oral ulcers come and go, was diagnosed with acute bronchitis and recently I have been having a very stuffed nose/cough with yellowish nasal mucus.


To the best of my knowledge I have not had any encounter that could cause an HIV infection from May till date


I am becoming very stressed and anxious regarding this whole experience and the only thing going through my mind is that I MAY have HIV.


1. Do I require further testing given the circumstances?

2. Is it possible to get infected through a blood draw procedure ? Have there ever been any cases of this sort?

3. Is it possible that a negative result can turn positive although the test was taken in the given time frame from exposure?

H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
15 months ago
Welcome to the forum. Thank you for your confidence in our services. I can help. The bottom line is that for sure you did not catch HIV last February; something else is causing your symptoms. Here are the details:

The antigen-antibody (AgAb, "duo", "4th generation") HIV blood tests are among the most accurate diagnostic tests ever developed, for any medical condition. They never remain negative beyond 6 weeks of acquiring HIV (or 3 months in persons who took anti-HIV drugs that failed to prevent infection). Therefore, your AgAb test results overrule all other considerations:  no matter how high the risk of HIV at the time of exposure, and no matter how typical symptoms might be for a new HIV infection, the test result tells the truth. Anyway, your sympptoms are not typical -- but even if they were, for sure they are not due to HIV. Finallly, the HIV blood tests are highly standardized world wide:  it is likely that your laboratory (especially a respected and well known lab) uses the same test(s) and equipment employed in the US, western Europe, etc. So your negative results are reliable.

Those comments directly or indirectly answer questions 1 and 3. To be explicit, you do not need further HIV testing, assuming you have not otherwise been at risk since last February. And no, it is not possible a negative AgAb test 3+ months after infection to later turn positive. For question 2, the answer is no:  there have been no reported cases of HIV acquired by having blood drawn, assuming the lab used one of the standard, non-resusable needle or syringe equipment. These systems are designed to prevent being used more than once, and there is no chance a "well known" lab would attempt to do so.

If your symptoms continue to concern you, get professional care to determine the cause. But you can be confident it's not HIV.

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

HHH, MD
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15 months ago
Hi doctor, since I have not had any sexual activity/ drug use since February and my tests were done in the ample time, can I take my May negative results as conclusive. Are there any other ways of contracting HIV?
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
15 months ago
"can I take my May negative results as conclusive?" See the first line of my reply above, then re-read the next paragraph. I haven't changed my mind in the last few hours!

Sure, there are other ways of catching HIV. All are rare. Blood transfusion or organ transplant if the donor wasn't tested. Shared needles. Being born to an infected mother. But no other ways that matter 99.99% of the time.
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15 months ago
Hello doctor I appreciate your opinions and have gone for a further test to ease my anxiety! Do you think there is even the slightest chance of it returning positive?

Lastly I greatly appreciate the work you do!

Happy New Year and God Bless!
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
15 months ago
Since you've already had conclusive results and another test will be no more conclusive than the last one (you can't get beyond 100%), there is no point in another test. Of course it will be negative. But I think that you're going to be any less anxious about it. You're clearly obsessed with this and probably anxious about a sexual decision you regret. But I do hope this conversation has been helpful. Happy new year!---