[Question #6518] HIV Window Period

13 months ago
To Whom It May Concern:

I (male) recently visited a strip club and at the end of a lap dance my genitalia was exposed and I masturbated to the stripper. From what I recall the stripper did not touch my penis nor was there any penetration of any kind. However, because I was drunk I want to make sure I'm safe. 

I was given a HIV-1/2 Antibody and Antigen test at 18 days and again at 41 days post exposure. Both tests were non-reactive. However, at 34 days post exposure I developed a sore throat, runny nose and fatigue (no fever) that lasted approximately 6 days and then 2 days later, at 42 days post exposure (the day after I took my second HIV test,) I developed similar symptoms again, with a sore throat, runny nose, heavier fatigue (no fever) and a deep cough. This second illness has taken me approximately 10 days to recover from.

My question is, should I get tested again? Are these symptoms of acute HIV infection, or were my test results conclusive at 41 days post exposure?

Thank you so much for your time.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
13 months ago

Welcome to the Forum.  I'll be glad to comment.  I suspect the event you describe was no risk.  There appears to have been no penetration and if there is no penetration, there is no risk.  Had penetration occurred, I am confident that, drunk or not, you would have remembered.

An 18 day test is a bit early for conclusive results but your 41 day test is fine.  While we recommend 42 days, there is really no meaningful difference between 41 and 42 days.  Further if your earlier symptoms had been due to recently acquired HIV, then your 41 day test certainly would have been positive.  I see no need for further testing.

I hope this comment is helpful. EWH


---
13 months ago
Thank you very much for the information Dr. Hook! So the test would have picked up HIV even though I developed the 2nd sickness the day after I was tested? The two times I was sick were not concurrent. I recovered from the first time I was sick (34 days post exposure,) was normal for a few days and then got sick again the day after I was tested and I was therefore worried about this second time being sick (42 days post exposure) being related to acute HIV infection. 

Also, do you know why I was told by my primary care physician that it takes 6 months for the test to be conclusive? I've been told various window periods by various physicians. Hence why I reached out to a specialist (yourself.) Thank you so much again for your time! 
13 months ago
Hi again! 

So sorry to bug. I just wanted to follow up to my previous question. It took me about two weeks to recover from my second sickness which started the day after I was tested. I was tested on day 41 (HIV antibody/antigen test) after exposure and I got sick the following day on day 42 after exposure. My symptoms were a sore throat which lasted a couple of days and then nasal congestion and a deep cough which lasted about a week. My last symptom was that I felt exhausted for about two entire weeks but I never had a fever. 

I just wanted to make sure that these were not symptoms of HIV ARS and that if they were the test on day 41 would have caught it even though the symptoms started the day after. Thank you!
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
13 months ago
Thank you for the followup and my apologies for having missed your earlier reply.   I'm afraid the your doctor is a bit out of date on his/her recommendations for followup.  With current 4th generation, combination antigen/antibody tests, results are reliable and conclusive at 42 days.m there is no meaningful,difference between results at 41 and 42 days.  You can be confident that you do not have HIV.  You can also be confident that neither of the illnesses you describe were HIV-related.

Again, please accept my apologies for having missed your earlier follow-up question.   EWH
---