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DoctorS
DoctorS, Doctor
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 984
Experience:  MD, 30 years of medical practice
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Is there anyway that HIV can lay dormant after almost 2 ...

Customer Question

Is there anyway that HIV can lay dormant after almost 2 years and still not be detected by blood tests? I have had a total of 5 including 2 oraquick tests and all are neg. I have read that it can lay dormant...is this the same as as the herpes virus or mono laying dormant? Please be detailed.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  DoctorS replied 6 years ago.

DearCustomer

If you have had 5 HIV tests that have been negative, it is extremely unlikely that you have HIV that was transmitted two years ago. If your question is can you be infected 2 years earlier and it be negative on tests each time for two years, the answer is virtually impossible. The reason for this is that the oraquick test has a 99.6% sensitivity and 100% specificity, meaning that the people who did not have the virus would test negative 100% of the time and that out of 1000 people who were infected, 996 people would test positive. This means that 4 people out of 1000 would test negative while still being infected - meaning 0.04% chance that if you had HIV, you would test negative. Now, if you this take this test twice, your chances go from 0.04% to 0.04%x0.04%=0.0016% chance, meaning out of 1,000 people, less than 2 people will have HIV but test negative. Take the test 1 more time, and now your chances are 0.000064%, meaning less than 1 person in 1000. The test is good for detecting virus infections that are greater than 3 months. So to answer your question, it is very very very unlikely that after 2 Oraquick and 3 other HIV tests that were negative, you would have HIV (unless you had a new exposure since that time.

I am attaching a link from the cdc for more information about the oraquick HIV test for your information: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/qa/oraqck.htm

As far as dormacy for the virus - it is certainly possible for a person to be asymptomatic from HIV for months, years, to even decades, meaning that they might not experience any symptoms and their white blood cell count can remain in the normal range for a long time, in some cases indefinitely. They can remain infected with HIV but maintain undetectable viral loads (while still their HIV test would be positive). This is not the same as a dormant herpes virus, however, that can hide virion particles in the nerve ganglia and not cause clinical infection. They are similar in the fact that the patient is not symptomatic, but the mechanisms are different and the word dormant is not frequently used to describe latent HIV infection.

I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if I can answer any further questions.

DrS

DoctorS, Doctor
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 984
Experience: MD, 30 years of medical practice
DoctorS and 4 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Very good! Detailed! I guess I am confused with the word dormant....so are you saying that someone can have HIV for years and the tests not pick it up or that someone can have HIV and the tests still pick it up but your body just hasn't become sick from it? I guess what I am saying is I am worried that I could have the infection but the fact that it could lay DORMANT (if I am understanding the word right)and tests not be able to pick up the antibodies????
Expert:  DoctorS replied 6 years ago.

DearCustomer

I am suggesting the second of the two in terms of "dormant" (which again is not a word that I would use to describe HIV infection): that someone can have HIV and the tests still pick it up but your body just hasn't become sick from it. If you were infected more than 3 months ago, it would be picked up already 99.999999% assuredly (based on the numbers I cited above).

I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if I can clarify any more information.

DrS

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
You are very clear! I am just being paranoid and worried. I need to just accept it and relax and stop creating 'what if's" Is this normal for a typical scare to be so worried and parnoid even though tests are neg?
Expert:  DoctorS replied 6 years ago.

DearCustomer

Certainly it is a scary diagnosis and if you are worried that you might have been exposed recently, it is valid - however if you are concerned about an exposure 2 years ago and have had 5 negative tests, you no longer need to be worried or creating 'what ifs' because it is virtually impossible that you are infected from that time.

DrS

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Ok thank you! The exposure wasn't even risky I don't think. I kissed a guy who had HIV and I had a canker sore on the inside of my lip.
Thanks sooo much for being patient! I like to ask a lot of questions---typical Aquarius!
Expert:  DoctorS replied 6 years ago.

DearCustomer

That is actually very low risk - it is believed that the saliva has properties that actually inhibit the HIV, so you really must be safe after the low risk exposures and 5 tests.

It's my pleasure and have a good night. Happy birthday too!

DrS

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you! I found out I am preg. with our second child on my b-day!
Expert:  DoctorS replied 6 years ago.

DearCustomer

Wow, congratulations! Is today your birthday? I just meant that its the Aquarius birthday season. What a lovely birthday present. Best of luck!

DrS

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
No Jan 27th was but I found out on my birthday dinner because I about threw up the chicken I put in my mouth! For some reason my body rejects chicken when I am preg. Normally that is all I eat and never red meat, Right then I knew I was and went home took a test and sure enough....it was positive! I guess that is why I have more anxiety too right now.
Expert:  DoctorS replied 6 years ago.

DearCustomer

Well that is great news and I wish you a lot of luck with the pregnancy. Hopefully the anxiety will subside since this particular issue should not be a worry.

Best of luck!

DrS

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thanks again!
I wish the docs here in Houston were like you! They are sooo not personal here AT ALL and would prob think I am crazy by asking all these questions!
Thanks again!
Expert:  DoctorS replied 6 years ago.
Perhaps we're more compulsive up in NY. It must be more laid back in Houston.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
VERRRY Laid back, and I am not so that stuff does not fly with me! I just switched OB's because she told me I would not see her everytime but every other time or every 2 times during my preg. I would be seeing the Nurse Practioner. Whatever, that is sooo wrong to me, and does not make me feel secure at all!
Expert:  DoctorS replied 6 years ago.
You have to find what makes you feel comfortable.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
How can I find you on here if I ever have questions in the future?
Expert:  DoctorS replied 6 years ago.

HiCustomer

You can refer to DrS in the question and then people will tend to differ the question to the person to whom it was posed. I'm happy to answer any questions that you may have. Again, best of luck!

DrS

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Hi Dr. S,
I will pay you again for answering this question.
I was talking to a friend the other day (who does in fact have HIV) he was telling me that HIV in fact can "HIDE" in cells and cannot be detected. Does this mean it can hide and your body doesn't know it is there to produce antibodies, therefore tests will not pick it up? I don't know where he got his information from medical or just hearsay??? It was so weird, the same question I asked you just happened to come up in our conversation????
Expert:  Dr. Zia replied 6 years ago.

i presume that dr S is offline... if you allow me i will answer your qeustion...

regards

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Oh yes!
I kissed a guy with HIV about 2 years ago and I had a sore in my mouth...I know this is a very low risk but still I was scared! Anyway I have had 2 oraquick (blood tests) and 4 Eliza tests. All negative. I have heard though that the virus can lay dormant and not show up. Dr. S explained to me that it only lays dormant by symptoms and tests can still pick it up. However an HIV positive friend of mine told me that the virus can HIDE in cells and go undetected. Is this true? And does that mean undetected by tests?
Expert:  Dr. Zia replied 6 years ago.

i agree with doctor S and i would say that the tests for HIV can still pick it up...

even though your friend is also partially right in saying that HIV can hide in cells such as some of the white blood cells (macrophages) in our body.. but not all the cells hide in the cells and that cannot prevent the HIV from not being detected from the most advanced tests such as PCR (polymerase chain reaction)...

nowadays the newer PCR machines have the ability to detect even a single copy of HIV RNA in a mL of blood...

so i find no way that they could have missed the virus in your body if they tested your properly...

what i can tell you is that it is all in your head.... you are being hypochondriac (i apologize for using these terms... this is not to hurt your feelings)

regards

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
No you are right...my mom is a hypochondriac so I prob get that from her! No feelings hurt! So there is no chance that the virus can hide in your body and your body not produce antibodies?
Expert:  Dr. Zia replied 6 years ago.

if you really really want to be DEAD sure that you do not have HIV then i would recommend that you get a PCR test done if you have not had that already...

one thing that i would like to add is that you have had ELISA four times and this test is nearly 100 percent sensitive for the detection of the virus (by sensitive i mean that if the test is negative you do not have the disease)..

the body will still produce antibodies to be detected unless you are severly immunocompromised.. which you are not... i am sure...

regards

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Reply to DoctorS's Post: HI Dr S,
Yes my friend (who is HIV) was telling me that the virus can in fact Hide in your cells without your body knowing and producing antibodies.
Expert:  DoctorS replied 6 years ago.

DearCustomer

As Dr. Zia mentioned, the virus does not hide in your cells without the test detecting it, so after the numerous confirmations, you truly do not need to worry. As I mentioned above, the virus is NOT like the herpesvirus that can hide in nerve cells.

DrS

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