How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. David Your Own Question
Dr. David
Dr. David, Board Certified Physician
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 46702
Experience:  Experienced Physician trained in New York City. I'm ready to help.
Type Your Medical Question Here...
Dr. David is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I had a encounter 7 weeks ago and unfortunately did not use

Customer Question

I had a sexual encounter 7 weeks ago and unfortunately did not use protection. I saw an hiv clinic the next day and started a course of PEP. The man involved with me says he had a recent hiv test and it was negative. My tests have been negative too as recently as this week. I am an overly anxious person so the doctor ran a viral load test. She said it should come back <20. Which it did. But the reference range on the actual test said "undetectable" is normal. My result simply says <20? If I had nothing detected shouldn't it say undetected? Or is this <20 mean the same thing? So confused and nervous!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.

This is Dr. David

<20 means undetectable.

you don't need a viral load test. this is the wrong test for you. these are for patients who have known HIV infections.

you need HIV dual antigen and antibody tests. or an HIV DNA or RNA PCR test.

these are the proper tests for you to tell that you don't have HIV.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The test says normal range in the middle of the sheet as undetectable. To the right of that says my test is <20? To me that means I had some detected or it would have said "not detected". I did have 2 finger antibody tests done as wel
Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.

this is the wrong test for you to tell if you have HIV.

I told you the proper test you need to tell you if you have HIV or not.

you don't have HIV.

you are using the wrong test. this test is only for patients who have known HIV.

this test is not used to tell you if you have HIV or not.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Each time I go to doctor they prick my finger wait 20 min and it's been negative both times. This extra viral
Load test was supposed to ease my anxiety
Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.

well, it doesn't seem like it eased your anxiety.

that is the wrong test.

you have had other HIV negative tests.

it seems like your anxiety symptoms are bad

you don't have HIV.

but it seems like you will continue to find something to worry about.

are you on medications or treatment for anxiety?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have prescriptions but try to fight it. I just really expected that test to say undetectable.
Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.

<20 doesn't mean you have HIV.

your anxiety is out of control with worry here.

you shouldn't be ordering wrong tests for yourself

you should let your doctors order the tests for you.

which your doctors have already and they are negative.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
If you wouldn't mind could you explain to me what less than 20 means then
Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.

anything under 40-70 copies of HIV particles in your blood is considered undetectable.

<20 is undetectable

this is a test use to looking for millions and millions of copies of HIV in your blood for HIV positive patients.

you don't have HIV.