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Please help me understand testing!
Feb 5, 2003

Dear Dr. Bob,

I first would like to thank you for the advice and comfort you give people in this forum. I have found you to be greatly encouraging over the last couple of months that I have been convinced that I have hiv. While I know you are incredibly busy and that this may not be the right place for this question, I would really appreciate your advice.

I recently had a low risk exposure (mutual masturbation with a prostitute). I tested negative by an Elisa test after 19 weeks. I have a couple of questions.

1. What is the likelihood of testing positive at 6 months given the 4.5 month negative result?

2. Would contracting another STD such as hepatitis during this exposure have any effect on my antibody production -- delayed seroconversion? I have gone in to get a hepatitis test done, but do not yet have the result?

3. Would contracting another STD such as chlamydia, NGU, etc. during a sexual encounter have any affect on the Elisa test -- again, would it affect the timing of antibody production.

I would really appreciate your response to this question since I am really worried. Thank you so much.


Response from Dr. Frascino

Hey PRB,

Yep, you're absolutely correct. This is not the right place for your questions. They should be posted to our experts in the Safe Sex/HIV Prevention Forum.

Let me try to briefly calm your fears.

1. Mutual masturbation carries an almost non-existent risk for transmission of HIV. Your 19-week negative ELISA is conclusive. You do not have HIV. Your likelihood of testing positive at 6 months following an episode of mutual masturbation and a 4.5-month negative ELISA? The likelihood is exactly zero, zip, nada, zilch! 2. Hepatitis or other STD's (chlamydia, NGU, etc.) have no affect on HIV antibody production or delayed seroconversion.

Stop worrying, PRB. Mutual masturbation is about as safe as safer sex gets! Sex is supposed to be fun and enjoyable, not fear- and worry-inducing. Check out the Safer Sex/HIV Prevention expert forum for further details. Stay safe. Stay well.

Dr. Bob

What do MCV and MCH values mean?
A HUGE Thank You!

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