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HomeAnswersHIV/AIDS specialistpost-exposure prophylaxisI started PEP within 48 hours and finished the course. Will the medicine affect my HIV test results?

Does post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) affect the result of the HIV PCR qualitative test?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At August 4, 2022
Reviewed AtAugust 7, 2023

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

I had unprotected oral sex with a female therapist four months ago. Only my penis was involved in the act for two minutes. I consulted a doctor after two days, and he started me on PEP (Post - exposure Prophylaxis). I have been prescribed a tablet Tavin EM for 30 days. I started taking the tablet within 48 hours and have finished the course with full adherence. In the meantime, I took the following tests because of anxiety: HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) qualitative six days post-exposure - Negative. HIV PCR qualitative 13 days post-exposure - Negative. HIV PCR qualitative 18 days post-exposure - Negative. HIV PCR qualitative 31 days post-exposure - Negative. My questions are: Are these test results conclusive? Since I took the qualitative tests while on PEP, will they affect the results? Kindly help me.


Welcome to icliniq.com.

The chances of transmitting the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) by single unprotected oral sex with an HIV-positive person would be almost nill unless there were bleeding wounds in the oral cavity. HIV PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test is negative repeatedly. Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) can affect PCR test results. Though the chances of HIV tests coming positive later is almost nill with given risk exposure and test results, it is better to go for an HIV antibodies test after three months of exposure to relieve anxiety.

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

My doctor says that single drug PEP (like in my case) does not affect PCR qualitative tests but may affect quantitative tests. Is that correct? I am very anxious, and waiting for three months is stressful. Please let me know.


Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Yes, it may affect the quantitative not much on the qualitative test. Overall with given exposure and test results, the chances of HIV tests coming positive later is almost nil. I suggest you go for a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) antibodies test after three months of exposure to have conclusive results and be relieved of anxiety totally.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Basti Bharatesh Devendra
Dr. Basti Bharatesh Devendra


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