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StillWorried 07-20-2012 10:04 PM

HIV-negative at 8 weeks, but have cancer history (possible immune problems)
 
Hello!

Last November I had unprotected sex with a guy who turned out to be very promiscuous. He did not ever want to use a condom, and although I usually insisted despite this, on a couple occasions I stupidly let him ejaculate inside of me. Later I realized that if this guy had been with a lot of women, and didn't care about using protection, he had a high risk of having HIV or another STD. Furthermore, he was from Guatemala and had had sex with many women there. (I don't know if this country has a higher HIV rate or not.)

Eight weeks later I got an HIV test, which came out negative. I was also tested for other STDs (chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, and hepatitis), which also came back negative. I've searched the internet, and repeatedly people say that it is very rare to be HIV positive if you've tested negative at 8 weeks.

However, I've also read that that the exception is if you have a lowered immune system, due to things like chemotherapy. I have had chemotherapy for colon cancer, although I have been off treatment and cancer free for 5 years. My entire colon was removed, which my friend told me will compromise your immune system. Also, at the time of this sexual encounter, I was not taking good care of myself (smoking a lot of cigarettes and weed, and not eating right or getting enough sleep). I was sick after having sex with him (fatigue, coughing and mild lung damage, weight loss), which was likely the result of unhealthy habits, but I am worried it could also have been "conversion sickness". I also had a rash, although it's likely I caught this from someone I knew.

In general, I'm worried that my immune system may have been lowered at the time, which may have meant I hadn't produced antibodies by 8 weeks. However, while at the gynecologist's I also had some blood tests (things like iron counts, liver function) which were all normal--I don't know if these tests would determine whether my immune system was working well at the time. My immune system was good enough to bounce back once I started eating and sleeping right again, and cutting back on smoking. However, I have had a couple "odd" things happen, like some major acid reflux last night in which I vomited up some blood, and a couple of strange bumps on my leg. This makes me scared that my immune system may be compromised by HIV.

I keep thinking to myself, if I were going to catch anything, wouldn't it have been more likely to be a more common STD, like chlamydia? Still, I feel worried. I'm actually afraid to get another test, because I'm afraid that the results will be positive this time. I would prefer to go back to my gynecologist to be tested again, because I know the doctors and nurses and feel better there than at a free clinic, but I don't have health insurance and don't want to spend the money right now. In the meantime, I just want to get another perspective. Should I be genuinely worried that I may have had a "false negative", or do you think I am probably fine?

joggen 07-21-2012 12:01 AM

Re: HIV question
 
Having your colon removed or having chemotherapy 5 years ago has no bearing on the accuracy of HIV tests. Most of what is quoted around the net as having a possible effect on HIV test results, such as chemo, are only theoretical. Virtually everyone in the world who is infected with HIV will test positive at 8 weeks post exposure. You are not the exception. Unless your partner has sex with men or shares injection drug equipment, he is at low risk for HIV, and your risk is close to zero. Stop worrying and expect another negative.

Apollo123 07-21-2012 12:38 AM

Re: HIV question
 
Well what you read about the chemo only effects a few people anyway so its still rare they test positive at a later date, the part you missed is that they will be on treatment before and currently whilst testing. AS this is not the case thats somthing you dont have to worry about.

As joggen said, you 8 week test is very near conclusive so take your 12 week test as routine. The fact you didnt get any std's would indicate only good news.

Overall you had a risk but you look like your going to be fine, but in the future use condoms, and if they dont want to rubber up then you dont have sex ;)

StillWorried 07-21-2012 12:52 AM

Re: HIV question
 
Thank you for that info! It's very relieving to know that it's only while a person is actually on chemo that they should worry about the test validity. At this point it's actually been about 8 months since that encounter--I never went back to get the 12 week test as the nurse assured me that I was probably fine after 8 weeks. It's just something that's been going through my mind a lot recently, since the new symptoms like the acid reflux--I wonder if I have a phobia, lol! Do you think if I was one of the rare people to have had a false negative at 8 weeks, that any symptoms would have shown up by now?

Btw, I think part of the reason I get scared about this is that I had an extremely rare form of cancer for someone my age, and I just think sometimes that I am jinxed when it comes to health--like the normal rules don't apply to me. Thanks so much for your help!

Apollo123 07-21-2012 12:57 AM

Re: HIV question
 
I can see why your concerned, but i have not come across a false negative, false positives yes many times, but false negatives, no. That said you really should get test done for peace of mind and be dome with it. You can take a rapid test that gives results in 15 minutes, so you dont have to wait :)

blokecalledkev 07-21-2012 04:09 AM

Re: HIV question
 
[QUOTE=StillWorried;5024131]Thank you for that info! It's very relieving to know that it's only while a person is actually on chemo that they should worry about the test validity. At this point it's actually been about 8 months since that encounter--I never went back to get the 12 week test as the nurse assured me that I was probably fine after 8 weeks. It's just something that's been going through my mind a lot recently, since the new symptoms like the acid reflux--I wonder if I have a phobia, lol! Do you think if I was one of the rare people to have had a false negative at 8 weeks, that any symptoms would have shown up by now?

Btw, I think part of the reason I get scared about this is that I had an extremely rare form of cancer for someone my age, and I just think sometimes that I am jinxed when it comes to health--like the normal rules don't apply to me. Thanks so much for your help![/QUOTE]

Hi,

It is not likely you are one of the rare cases. A false negative at 8 weeks is not something I have ever come across anywhere. If you are still concerned here, be honest with you on the HIV front you have no reason to be, you should have a confirmation test, it will undoubtedly be negative.

Acid reflux is not a symptom of an HIV infection, I have it and take daily medication to keep it in check (I drink far too much coffee, smoke too many cigarettes and occasionally have that extra glass of wine that I know I shouldn’t). I assure you that I do not have HIV and can assure you that acid reflux as nothing to do with an HIV infection.

Trying to diagnose HIV by symptoms is literally like trying to nail jelly to a wall, pretty much impossible. The more you try to do it, the worst it becomes because before you know it anything and everything that happens to you are by default put down to an HIV infection. In reality there is no symptom that points directly towards an HIV infection and looking for small tell-tale signs is actually pretty pointless.

HIV can only ever be diagnosed by an HIV test and given your negative result at 8 weeks it is unlikely as in being hit by a meteorite today unlikely you have got HIV.

Kevin.


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