Here’s the full question. Our answer follows at the end.
Hi I had an protected encounter with a CSW. After sex I did not check closely the condom state but it looked intact but I am not sure. My doctor gave me a STI panel and I tested at 3 weeks, 4 weeks and 7 weeks. They all came back negative. However I don’t know if they used a 4th gen test as on the paper that my doctor gave me it only say HIV1/HIV2 Ab and my tests were done at the Dynacare lab in Winnipeg, Canada. I am worried that they used the 3rd gen test that only looks for antibodies. But CATIE the HIV source in Canada says all laboratories use the 4th gen test. Is this true? I am still gonna test at the 12 weeks mark anyway but I am super nervous and anxious.
Thanks for getting in touch with us. Labs across Canada use 4th generation test for screening HIV, which means they are 99 percent accurate by 6 weeks after infection. These tests are highly accurate and reliable and are typically able to detect HIV much sooner than 12 weeks (3 months), however there is a 1 percent chance of testing positive till about 12 weeks or 3 months. You mention that your test result at 7 weeks came back negative, which means that there is a 99% chance you do not have HIV from that sexual exposure. So for a conclusive negative result, testing at 12 weeks is recommended. Practicing safer sex during this period will help in you not contracting or passing on sexually transmitted infections including HIV.
Having condomless sex and/or not knowing the STBBI status of your partner or yourself may result in transmission of sexually transmitted and blood borne infections (STBBIs) including HIV. It is encouraging that you used a condom during your sexual contact, and this significantly lowers your chance of contracting HIV. Studies indicate that condoms are an effective tool to prevent sexual transmission of many STBBIs including HIV. If you are worried about your experience testing for sure will help. It is recommended that everyone who is sexually active to get tested not only for HIV but all the other STBBIs too. Having a chat with your health care provider would help in making the right decision.