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Date of last update: 10/12/2017.

Forum Name: AIDS

Question: Waiting time before you can get an accurate HIV test read?

 waitingtoexhale - Fri Jan 16, 2009 8:54 pm


I have been living in a very anxious state for the past 2 months because I think that I may have come in contact with HIV in mid November. It was not through unprotected sex or needle use, etc., I think that I might have touched someone elses used feminine product in a recepticle at work when I was disposing of mine - and then I very absent mindedly inserted my new tampon. I really want to go for an HIV test asap but I heard that you have to wait 3 months to get accurate results. Now, it has been 2 months and my long distance boyfriend wants to come and visit me for Valentines Day. I love this man with all my heart and I have been completely faithful. I just wish I knew the truth and it would kill me to put him in any form of risk. My life has been a silent hell for the past 2 months - if it means that I have to wait 3 months I will survive but the anxiety is just ruining me and I REALLY REALLY would love to be able to have the assurance or hard truth of the future of my relationship.

Thank you in advance for your help.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Sat Jan 24, 2009 10:14 pm

User avatar Hello -

Here's the thing about HIV testing: a negative on the first round test may or may not be accurate. A positive is a postive always, so if your first test is negative, statistically it puts you way ahead, although you do still need at least one follow up to be reaonably certain. It takes HIV about 60 days, on average, to cause antibodies to form, so you're more than ready to be tested -- and generally when there's a known exposure the practice is to do one immediately, for a total of three. In your case you've pretty much put yourself at step two already, so by all means get yourself tested at once, since it takes a few days to get the results on these anyway. At this point you may not need the additional test done. Regardless of the result you should know with reasonable certainty at this point. Statistically you're still very unlikely to have contracted HIV, because the virus is so fragile and dies in minutes (or less) when exposed to air. And you're not certain you were even incidentally exposed, apparently, but only may have been. I know -- this is not reassuring. Still, it's fact. While you're at a very low statistical risk right now, and also are well within the window for any antibodies to be showing up if they are present, only getting tested will ease your mind -- or the other thing, if that somehow turns out to be the case. Either way you need to know, and your test now should be accurate.

I hope this is helpful. Please follow up with us as needed, the very best of luck to you, and please do update us.

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