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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex Basics and Sexual Health » HIV?

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Author Topic: HIV?
winterx3
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I saw the thread someone else posted asking about how accurate a 3 month HIV test was. I looked at the page you put up in a response on their thread but was wondering how accurate a test is after a month and a half? The test I took came back negative, but now I'm wondering if I need to be retested to be sure that it's negative?
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September
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Yes, you will want to retest once it has been at least three months since your risk. It can take up to three months for the antibodies to be detectable in the blood.

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Johanna
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"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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winterx3
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Is there any accuracy at all in a test that was done in that amount of time or is it rule of thumb that any testing before the 3 month mark should be disregarded?
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Heather
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Of course there may have been accuracy. There's simply no predicting how much, to my knowledge.

Did the provider who administered the test for you take a sexual history from you and talk with you about your test and when and if they felt you may need to retest?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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September
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It is not necessarily that the test is not accurate - it accurately reflects the antibody count in your body at that time - it is just that it takes up to 3 months for the antibodies to become detectable. So, you may test negative at one month after a risk, and then positive at 3, because in the meantime the antibody count became measurable.

So, it is recommended to wait at least three months to test.

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Johanna
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"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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winterx3
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Thanks to both of you for answering!

Heather - I didn't see my normal doctor when I went to talk about my possible exposure. I saw a nurse practitioner, and she knew that I had only been exposed about 6 weeks before hand and gave me the lab sheet to go get the blood work done. When the results came back she just said that they were negative and that I could relax, nothing about a retest was mentioned.

I'm thinking that maybe I should go get a retest just to be sure since it seems like it could have been a false negative

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Heather
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Anywhere you go to get an HIV test, all the staff need be trained in giving those tests, including patient information.

With STI tests, of any kind, what we really want to do is get regularly tested, so the idea that one test once, at any time, is sound isn't how it works.

But if you were given an STI test, and the provider had that information about your sexual history and assured you you could rely on the results, then you can be sure you can. You just still want to be regularly tested for STIs (not just HIV). The usual recommendation with that is anywhere from every six months to every two years, depending on how often you change sexual partners and/or if those partnerships are monogamous.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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winterx3
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Yeah, the nurse practitioner also asked about the guy that I thought I might have gotten it from and didn't think it sounded like too much of a risk, especially since I don't know for sure if the guy had anything. After I was with him, I discovered that he has had a large amount of partners and I got nervous that it could have been a possibility. She had me get the blood work done for reassurance that it wasn't anything.

I never used to think about getting tested regularly, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that it's probably the safest idea and that way I know for sure when/if something goes wrong.

Again, thanks for your help!

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Heather
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Honestly, just so you know, if you a) get tested regularly, and b) practice safer sex for all oral, vaginal or anal sex, your chances of getting HIV and most other STIs are very, very slim, even if and when a partner actually has HIV or most other infections.

And that's also going to be the case with someone with many partners: if they have been practicing safer sex with all of them, it's very unlikely they have an STI, either.

It's really, all of this, much less about how many partners someone has had, and much more about if they have been using barriers consistently or not. The same, obviously, will go for you. If we're going to have any kind of sex, using those barriers -- and using them always, not just sometimes -- really is our first, and best, line of defense at preventing the spread of infections.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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winterx3
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The reason I was so nervous and jumped to conclusions was because he was the one person I haven't used barriers with. And I just kind of assumed that since he was reluctant to use one with me, chances are he probably doesn't use them with anyone. SInce I had that scare I've been much much more careful.

Actually, while we're talking, I also was tested for a few other STIs when I got the HIV test done. She tested me for chlamydia and gonorrhea are those two STIs that would test positively right away or do most STIs take time before they will show up positive?

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Heather
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I think that's generally a safe assumption: if someone has had partners before, and doesn't want to practice safer sex with us, we can be pretty sure they've been the same way with others.

Personally, for me -- just as something to think about moving forward -- that's the kind of person I would usually opt out of sex with, period.

It just seems to me like that's assuming a whole lot of possible risk -- even with barriers, but most certainly without them -- and also like chances are good I'm about to engage in sex with someone who probably doesn't care very much for themselves or others. Or, who is so uneducated about sex and sexual health, that sleeping with them feels like doing something way before they're ready.

Just something to consider should you encounter a partner like this again.

Again, you really just want to be tested regularly. For sure, those should have shown up on a test by then had you acquired them, but incubation periods can be so tricky sometimes.

Really, when you're testing regularly, you just don't even have to sweat things like this and try and find answers to these questions where there often aren't any for-100%-sure answers.

So, maybe this round of testing can be a start to you getting tested regularly, moving forward?

[ 03-17-2013, 04:04 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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winterx3
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Yeah, I think that moving forward I'm going to get tested regularly just to be 100% sure! And I see what you're saying about those types of partners, I agree with what you said completely and just wished that I had realized he was like that before I engaged in anything sexual with him. Mistakes happen though and I just have to learn from it and from here on out be smarter about it!

You've been a great help, thanks!! [Smile]

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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I'm really glad to hear the attitude you're taking about making mistakes: all too often, I see people beating themselves up about them instead of just acknowledging they were made and taking what they can from them to learn for the future. [Smile]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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