How long do HIV blood test results take

Originally Posted: 
Thursday, April 11, 2013
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Question: 

 

Hi,
 
About 4 years ago, I was going through a temporary tough time emotionally; I engaged in what I now perceive to have been risky sexual activity with a heterosexual man I had just met. I actually do not remember if we used a condom or not, and didn't really think much of it at the time. I got a horrible flu that lasted 10-14 days not long afterward, but I don't think it was 2 weeks after the risky act. I believe the flu came on within a week or less. 
 
It's been 4 years and I've been with my now husband for those 4 years. We started dating and began a sexual relationship within 2 months of my risky behaviour. He had been tested before engaging with me, I had not. 
 
For some reason it hit me recently, 'holy crap, I could have HIV, and worse, if I do have it, my poor husband might as well'. 
 
While I don't believe I have it, the symptom checkers online indicate that it is possible.. The flu, the risky behaviour, and the fact that no symptoms are generally present in this timeframe of possible infection.
 
A week ago, I took a blood test. We want to have children, so I tested for HIV as well as one type of hepatitis and rubella as well. I wish I had only tested for HIV because now I have a result issue.
 
The issue is, when will my HIV results come in? I didn't hear anything so today, 6 days later, I called the clinic. The receptionist said they had a result and they were not advised to call me. Meaning they had nothing to tell me. 
 
My issue is and was, which test? She said the 'others' (so, any 2 of the 3 tests I had) are still out there awaiting result delivery. I asked her which and she then scared the shit out of me and said I could come in and speak to a doc. 
 
My question is how long does HIV blood testing take? Because I'm assuming the test that has come back already is the HIV and that Im fine, but the witch either couldn't tell or wouldn't tell. How likely is it that the hep or the rubella test came in before the HIV test? If the HIV test came back positive, I understand it goes out for further confirmation to avoid a false positive, would I be informed before the second round of test? Just to let me know to brace myself as they did indeed detect HIV antibodies, or would they keep me in the dark until the second round came back? They won't tell me anything, and I feel that I have a right to know, is there anyone who can get in touch with the lab, like an advocate or am I at the mercy of the Doctor and clinic staff to let me know what and when they feel like getting around to it? 
 
I'm kind of scared, even through I think I already know I'm fine.
 
Please help put my mind at ease if possible.
 
Answer: 

Hello,

Thank you for using the AIDS Vancouver Online Helpline as your source of HIV/AIDS related information.

The only way to know of your HIV status is to get tested which you already have. It does no good to worry about past symptoms to try to figure out if HIV transmission was possible or not. Most people will get their HIV test results back within 1-2 weeks. You are correct that a positive result then leads to a confirmatory test called the "Western Blot" test. You will only be informed of a positive result after this Western Blot test has been administered. I am not able to tell you how long hepatitis and rubella tests usually take for results to be delivered. All I can say is that all health environments (eg. hospitals, clinics, etc) and their staff must follow strict guidelines and procedures and that you should trust that you will be called with information regarding a positive result. If you are not asked to come into the clinic because your results are negative, you can still make an appointment with your doctor if you would like to be provided with more information. Please try to do your best to relieve your stress in the meantime as prolonged anxiety is not good for the body. Please let us know if you have any other questions.

In Health,

Aly
AIDS Vancouver Helpline Volunteer
E-mail: helpline@aidsvancouver.org
Phone (Mon-Fri 9am-4pm): (604) 696-4666
Web: www.aidsvancouver.org/helpline

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