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Had vaginal sex. Tested negative for HIV by PCR test. Should I be worried for HIV infection?

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HIV AIDS Specialist
Practicing since : 1974
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I have been hearing a numerous amount of different answers for the early HIV detection tests. It is way too overwhelming for a person who suffers with anxiety. I think I have called every site in the USA to find out their opinions on the tests they offer. So here is my dilemma....I had vaginal sex with a female that I met at a bar. I did not know her very well. I immediately became concerned the next morning for whatever reason. I contacted a site where I was told I could test at 72 hours past possible exposure using the HIV DNA by PCR test and get reliable results. I did that, spent $499, and got a NEGATIVE. Further research throughout the internet has educated me on the fact that I was ripped off. I then went back to the sites and took the same test (HIV DNA by PCR) at 25 days past incident. That result came back as negative. Now I get many different opinions on this test result from: accurate and reliable- only conclusive at 28 days- conclusive at 21 days- No need to worry, you are HIV negative- get re-tested at 3 months. I have now spent nearly $750 on testing in the last month. I just want to move on past this experience and I need a professional Medical opinion. Is my 25 day HIV PCR DNA test being NEGATIVE a certain result? Can I move on with my regular sex life and life in general, without being concerned about being infected with HIV? Please help.
Posted Mon, 4 Feb 2013 in HIV and AIDS
Answered by Dr. S. Murugan 8 hours later
Thanks for posting to us.

First of all, just relax. You are absolutely free from HIV.

As you have mentioned in your presentation, HIV DNA PCR becomes reactive from 72 hours on wards in most people if infected with HIV. In few people if the infectious dose is smaller this test will recognize the disease a bit later. It becomes more sensitive and specific after 3 weeks of a risky sexual exposure and if it is really infectious to anybody.

So when it still shows a negative result even after 3 weeks, it means that you are absolutely free from HIV. Further tests are not usually necessary. With Antibody test done after 3 months, you will be more confident and the test is comparatively cheaper to a PCR
I think you can safely put this behind you

It is advisable to have safe sex always here after.

Have a great day.
Dr S.Murugan
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Had vaginal sex. Tested negative for HIV by PCR test. Should I be worried for HIV infection? 17 minutes later
So I can move on knowing I am HIV negative with my 25 day result and not worry ab this anymore? I just want to move on with my regular sex life and not feel like I have HIV and going to infect people. I knew my results were accurate, but I just wanted a professional medical opinion. I know ab safe sex, i will continue with that. I just wanted to be completely finished with this mess and move on without worrying any further testing besides annual testing as part of my routine check ups
Answered by Dr. S. Murugan 8 minutes later

Welcome back.

Certainly, you can continue your normal sex life and can concentrate well on your routine confidently. Most of the PCR testing laboratories are highly reliable one. So you can go well with confidence of not having HIV and proceed further.

Relax yourself.

Dr S.Murugan
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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