ZocdocAnswersCan HIV go undetected like HPV?

Question

Can HIV go undetected like HPV?

I've heard that in some people HPV won't be detected, even if you test for it. Is that true, and is it true of HIV as well? I had an HIV scare that I want to feel better about, but now I'm worried that the test won't be accurate. Is this possible or am I paranoid?

Answer

1. Can HPV go undetected, even if tested for: There are no routine tests for HPV in men. In women, HPV is detected from testing cells obtained from the pap smear. The HPV DNA test is done on just the subtypes of HPV which are most likely to cause cervical cancer and genital warts. This test in general is very sensitive and misses only a small percentage of HPV subtype infections of the cervix. As long as you get your pap smear yearly, it is very unlikely that HPV that's there will go undetected. 2. HIV test accuracy. The test for HIV will not be positive until after the acute HIV syndrome is past. This takes a few months after the initial infection. The initial test for HIV misses very few cases if any. If someone tests positive for HIV, then a confirmatory test is done to insure that the first test was not a false positive. If you had an HIV scare, schedule and appointment to see you primary care physician soon and explain the situation to him or her. Your doctor can council you on ways to prevent HIV and advise on when or if testing is necessary. Good luck.

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