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HIV and AIDS

Can I Seroconvert After Possible HIV Exposure 12 Months Ago?

08/22/2005

Question:

I would really like your help and advice on this please. I recently on June 15, 2005 and June 30 was tested for HIV using a rapid HIV fingerprick (blood) test and a blood lab test in England Birmingham. The reason I got tested was that I am due to start a new relationship and a baby. I did have unprotected sex in massage parlours about 18 months ago (at a reall low point in my life) that has put me at risk. I have not put myself at risk since though. Thankfully I tested negative, but how confident can I be in this result because I have heard recently of seroconversion after 12 months. Is this only in special circumstances? The nurse assured me I was definitely negative, but how can this be a definite if the test can be wrong? Please help me. I would hate to be wrong and I am getting very anxious about this somebody, please help me. Thanks for your time.

Answer:

The tests commonly used to detect HIV infection look for antibodies produced by your body to fight HIV. Most people will develop detectable antibodies within 3 months after infection, the average being 20 days. In rare cases, it can take 6-12 months. Seroconversion after 12 months has not been described. If you are still having a lot of anxiety about believing your negative HIV test result, you should get copies of the results of the tests you have had and go see a doctor to talk about the results.

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Response by:

Lisa A Haglund, MD Lisa A Haglund, MD
Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati