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how long until I turn infectious
Oct 7, 2003

Dear Doctor,

If I contracted HIV from an infected by having sex with her on September 4th, when would I have turned infectious. If I had sex with my regular partner (without protection) on September 8 and September 18th, could I have infected her. Thank you for listening.

Best regards,

Response from Dr. Remien

Once somebody is infected with HIV, they are then capable of transmitting the virus to others - that is to say, they are "infectious." I am honestly not sure if that can happen within hours or days. But the point is once the virus has established itself in a person's body, it can then be transmitted to others. And in fact, there is a lot of evidence that says a person is more highly infectious during what is called the "acute viral syndrome." That is, when first infected, there is a lot of viral replication taking place in the body - before there is a full antibody response, which helps control the virus. That means that a person can be most infectious before they actually test antibody positive, and may not even know they are infected.

If you have serious concerns about having been recently infected with HIV, you should consult directly with a physician and it may also be important to contact other recent sex partners. I leave that up to you and your doctor and/or HIV testing counselor to decide.


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