[Question #7429] Hiv 2 window period

3 months ago
Hi dear doctors

Thank you for your care and service. I recently went through a traumatic experience and I'm really concerned about a possible high risk exposure to hiv-2. I took a 4th generation hiv1 and hiv2 test at 80 days because I was really worried and couldn't wait longer and the result was negative thank god. I see every where that hiv-2 take longer to develop apparently. Can I trust this 80 days negative test to be conclusive or should I retest again at a later time?
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
3 months ago
Welcome to our Forum and thanks for your confidence in our service.  You provide no details regarding your exposures so while,I can give you reliable information on the performance of current tests for HIV-1 and -2, I cannot provide more than general information regarding risk for HIV-2 beyond generalities.   

Your tests are reliable.  Persons with HIV-2 reliably develop antibodies within six weeks of exposure.  Your 80 day test results should be believed.

It is also worthwhile pointing out that fewer than 50 cases of HIV-2 are diagnosed in the U.S. each year and those persons have typically been exposed to a person from parts of the world were HIV-2 is more common (even in those areas, most infections are due to HIV-1).  Finally, it is not so much that it takes longer to develop positive tests for HIV-2 as it takes longer for the infection to progress to become symptomatic.

I hope this information is helpful.  Believe your tests.  EWH 
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2 months ago
Thank you dr.hook I really appreciate your timely response! 
My risk exposure is actually that I received I guess a “false positive”  hiv 2 test three months ago. I don’t even know why I was tested for that in the first place since I’m a virgin I guess the doctors miss-understood and wrote that test which in my bad luck came back reactive at first. The second supplemental test (geenius) test didn’t confirm and was negative and to be honest having heard that hiv 2 rna test isnt fda approved and that rna tests have false positives, I decided to wait and get retested after 80 days since my last test with a 4th generation test. So now the retest is fully negative and I really really want to move on and not give into obsessive thoughts of retesting unless it’s medically advised since this experience has been traumatic already. 
I live in the US but have lived in the Middle East previously but again I’m a virgin. All my previous tests had been negative in my routine blood work before the last positive test.
From this detail now do you still think I can just consider my 4th gen conclusive or hiv 2 and move on from this experience ?


2 months ago
I also like to add that the repeat 4th generation test that was negative was done by quest diagnostics which I really trust but the I guess false positive test was done in a smaller laboratory that  I hadn’t heard of previously and it doesn’t seem to have the best reputation.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
2 months ago
Thanks for the additional information.  I certainly agree with your assessments. As a virgin there is absolutely no way you could have sexually acquired HIV-2 and your test results now confirm this to be the case.  Unfortunately all tests have occasional false positive results.  For tests for HIV (-1 and -2), these are extraordinarily rare and unfortunately for you, you were were unlucky and had a false positive test.

At this time you can be confident that you do not have HIV-2.  I encourage you to move forward without concern.  There is no need for further testing.  EWH 
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2 months ago
Thank you so much dr.hook! So now that my 4th generation retest is negative I don’t need to order the HIV 2 RNA test anymore ? 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
2 months ago
Correct.  No need for further testing.  Time to move forward EWH ---