[Question #7029] HIV Testing Question and Result Clarification.

8 months ago
Hello, I had protected sex with a questionable person on janurary 2nd, and got tested at the end of February. I went to the health office to ask the results and they said it came back negative and that the test was done 3 times once in Jan,Feb and March.  How do these tests work and how accurate is a Negative result after those tests? Thank you. 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
8 months ago
Welcome to our forum. Thank you for your question. I’ll be glad to provide an explanation.

Before I come at about tests let me tell you is that the exposure you describe was virtually no risk for acquisition of HIV. You don’t mention whether your partner was a woman or another man. Less than 1% of women in the United States have HIV. Rates of HIV among men who have sex with other men is higher but still quite low. In addition, condom protected sex is sex sex and, as long as the condom it was worn throughout the sexual encounter and did not break, there is virtually no risk of infection.

Now to explain the tests. Currently nearly all testing for HIV done in the United States, or the world for that matter, tests for HIV in two ways. Current tests are a combination of tests for HIV antigen which reflects the virus itself, and a test for antibodies to HIV which or a marker that the body is fighting the infection. The results of combination HIV antigen/antibody tests are conclusive at any time more than six weeks after an exposure. Thus the results from your tests in February and certainly in March were conclusive and proof that you did not acquire HIV. At this time there is no medical or scientific reason whatsoever for concern or additional testing related to the exposure you describe.

I hope this information is helpful to you. If there are any follow-up questions you may use your app to two follow-up questions for clarification. Take care. EWH.
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8 months ago
Thank you Doc,

In answer to your question it was male to female vaginal sex.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
8 months ago
Thanks for the additional information.   This ads to my confidence in assuring you that this was a very low risk exposure and that your tests now prove that you were not infected.  Congratulations on your commitment to safe sex.  EWH
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