Posted by: SA perspective | 2007/11/27

Your expert opinion

Dear Doc,

I need your expert opinion on this! I've posted before regarding HIV testing and I am very confused after consulting international web sites!

In the USA, even the the CDC put the 3 month mark as conclusive for testing, doctors on HIV specilaist sites are saying that tests after 8 weeks are conclusive when an individual has had a low risk encounter!!! Is this because their antibody/rapid tests are more advanced then ours????? What are your thoughts here?

My exact encounter: I received unprotected oral sex from my partner as well as masturbated him (he did not ejaculate in my hand). He then masturbated himself till ejaculation, rinsed his hands and masturbated me. As we were in the shower, I'm concerned that when he rinsed his hand, semen in the water ran onto my body, into my eye or mouth etc. My other concern is what if his hand was not rinsed 100% of his semen when he masturbated me?

I cannot deny or confirm that these incidents actually occured - I'm asking "what if".

At 10.5 weeks (72 days) I tested negative via a 20 minute rapid test - the counsellor was not concerned about my exposure (but she is NOT a scientist) - perhaps I'm over anxious!

Will a rapid test be conclusive on monday 03/12/07? Or can I test sooner. As at 27/11/07 it has been 78 days post exposure.

Sorry for the length of this post and the graphic nature!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberDoc

Dear SA perspective
In South Africa we use the 3 month timeline as a rule, the safest is to do the Westernblot as well as the Elisa test as each on their own may have false neg or positives. The reason for the 3 months is because it can take from 6 weeks up to 12 months for your body to make enough antibodies against the virus to be detected in the blood by the antibody tests (but usually by 3 months most people have enough antibodies). The rapid test is just a screening test and should not be used as a confirmation of HIV infection or not. More sensitive tests will be the PCR or viral load test, which actually test for the virus and not like the Elisa/WB, for antibodies against the virus in the blood, but this is usually not used for diagnosing of HIV, rather for monitoring the baseline infection.
Read the part under diagnosis on this webpage:
If someone has a high risk of infection ( contact with blood or full intercourse) we normally ask them to repeat the test at 6 months. In your case I don't think it is necessary, but will probably give you peace of mind.
dr Bets

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