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Hi, 11 weeks ago i had a potential exposure. Since then i got tested HIV 4th gen ab/p24 ag test at 31 days after exposure. Rapid (tri dot) test at 54 days and another rapid (tri dot) test at 64 days. They are all negative. But i am having symptoms similar to HIV. My symptoms are nausea after 3 days of exposure that i still have sometime, headache after 3 weeks lasted for few days. Joint pain after 6 weeks i still feel that and white tongue after 10 weeks of exposure. Do HIV symptoms appear one after another until 11 weeks after exposure. Are my negative test conclusive? I have been worrying constantly for 11 weeks now. Can you please make me clear about the tests i have and the symptoms. Thank you so much.

Hi, thanks for your question. Here is some information on the tests that you have done from the Catie website at

'All laboratories in Canada use fourth-generation HIV tests as screening tests. These tests can detect both the p24 antigen and anti-HIV antibodies. These HIV tests are sometimes referred to as antigen-antibody combination tests.

Tests that detect the p24 antigen generally have shorter window periods than tests that only detect antibodies. This is because most people have detectable levels of p24 antigen by 20 days after infection, which is generally earlier than antibodies can be detected. However, levels of p24 antigen in the blood begin to decrease three to four weeks after infection and are no longer detectable five to six weeks after infection. This is why fourth-generation HIV tests were designed to also detect anti-HIV antibodies, as antibodies generally remain detectable for the entire course of HIV infection.

Fourth-generation HIV tests can detect HIV infection in 50% of people by 18 days after infection; 95% of people by 34 days after infection; and 99% of people by one and a half months after infection.'  Testing at 90 days or 12 weeks completely covers thewindow period. 

You can feel reassured that the testing you have done so far has shown that you do not have HIV.  Please consider seeing a doctor for a medical assessment of your symptoms. 

Let us know if this does not answer your question or if you have any more questions or concerns.
Health Nurse


This answer was posted on June 20, 2019

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