HIV concern: Testing
I had sex for the first time with a condom with a CSW on Dec 10.
I tested for HIV at:
- 2 weeks (Dec 24)
- 6 weeks (Jan 21) 3rd gen
- 88 days (Mar 8) 3rd gen
All 3 tests were negative.
I'm coming up to the 6-month mark on June 10th, and I am considering to test again.
The reason for this is because I heard that tho a 3-month test result is pretty accurate, it is not considered conclusive until 6 months, and that some people even take up to 1 year before they test positive.
Also, I've been experiencing a lot of weird symptoms between Jan and now, some of which seems like onset of diabetes.
-If it was diabetes, can onset of diabetes affect my HIV test results?
-I've had a pale-ish, white tongue for the past 3 1/2 months, and I've also developed cuts on my tongue. Is this a symptom of HIV?
-I had ARS-like symptoms twice in January (diaherra, muscle pain, headache, fatigue), was diagnosed with food poisoning at the hospital both times, and the diaherra went away after taking antibiotics. If the diaherra was instead caused by HIV, would the antibiotics have worked as well?
Hello there and thank you for using AIDS Vancouver as your source of HIV/AIDS related information.
It is great to hear that you are taking care of yourself by practicing safer sex and getting tested.
I also would like to mention that who you have sex with (age, gender, occupation, ethnicity, sexual preference, etc) does not matter, rather what you do (unprotected anal/vaginal intercourse, or sharing needles) does matter the most when it comes to acquiring HIV.
To acquire HIV, HIV+ bodily fluids have to directly enter your bloodstream. As such, protected intercourse is considered a low risk. This means that unless the protection broke, failed or slipped off, then there would be absolutely no way for HIV+ fluids to enter your blood stream as HIV cannot penetrate latex or polyurethane condoms.
BC Center for Disease Control Guidelines for HIV testing state 3-month (12 weeks/ 84 days) as conclusive. Some medical professionals may recommend people who are diagnosed with immunodeficiency, undergoing Hep-C treatment, or taking post-exposure prophylaxis to re-test 6 months. This is mostly as a precaution and we have yet to hear of an actual case where a person's results changed between 3 and 6 months unless they engaged in a more recent high risk activity (such as sharing needles or unprotected sex).
I don't know where you got information about a 1 year result as a conclusive but that is not currently recommended and not necessary given current testing technologies and practices worldwide.
Some people may experience strong flu-like symptoms 2-6 weeks post exposure to HIV but many people don't. "ARS" symptoms usually go away after a week or so and are not chronic. Because HIV symptoms mirror other infections, diagnosing HIV infection by looking at symptoms is not the way; testing is.
It is a flu season in January and people get the common cold all the time, so knowing you have received negative result over 88-day period, these symptoms are not related to HIV.
To answer your questions,
· If you have not been diagnosed with diabetes by your doctor, it is unlikely that the onset of diabetes would affect your test results. If you are concerned about diabetes, I suggest you discuss this with a medical professional. Even if you do have diabetes, this would not affect your HIV test results. Diabetes is an auto-immune disorder and not an immunodeficiency disorder
· Symptoms for initial infection or "ARS" include a strong flu-like illness, and many people do not even experience anything at all. Those symptoms you listed (white tongue, diaherra, muscle pain, etc.) may appear as HIV progresses with lower CD4 counts (white blood cell which the virus attacks) or a very high viral load but are not related to a recent HIV infection. Again, because you have received negative results, it is not related to an HIV infection.
· Taking any medication, including antibiotics does not affect the result of test.
Knowing you engaged in low risk activity and you received 3 negative results, these ongoing symptoms do not seem to be related to HIV infection. The result you got latest (March 8th) is conclusive and definite, you are HIV negative. It is always an option to get tested at/after 6 months if it does ease your anxiety, but I would expect your test results to remain the same (if you have not engaged in any high risk activities: unprotected anal/vaginal intercourse or sharing needles).
We do recommend all the people who are sexually active to get tested regularly to know your status, and to protect yourself and your partners.
Hopefully you find this information helpful.
If you have further questions and/or concerns, please feel free to call/email us.
Stay healthy and keep smiling
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