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Chronic Yeast
Mar 1, 2000

Dear Dr. Feinberg-

I had unprotected sex 18 months ago and have just had an HIV (1 and 2) test recently that came back negative. I've had other HIV tests during the last few months as well, all negative. Like many other letters I have read -- I have symptoms that have developed since that I've never had before (chronic yeast infections, major post nasal drip, itchy scalp and skin, fatigue) and every time I look up a possible cause for my ailments HIV is always on the list. I'm dealing with the yeast by seeing my doctor on a pretty regular basis. He says that some women are just prone to vaginitis and it has no underlying cause to be concerned about. Of course I am concerned. Should I retest for HIV at the 2 year mark or can I trust that 18 month test result?

Also, OnHealth.com lists the window period as being up to 35 months. I've never seen that number anywhere before. Usually it 3 months, 6 months or a year. Where did they get 35?

Thanks for the response in advance.

Response from Dr. Feinberg

I have ho idea where they got the 35 months. Almost everyone who is really HIV+ has a positive test within 6 months; it would be pretty rare for it occur later than 6 months and "reportable" (extraordinary) at 18 and 24 months. I think a lot of the new symptoms people in your situation notice may be due to some non-HIV infection they picked up, or coincidence, or anxiety/guilt, or a combination of any of these. At 18 months I think you can relax and avoid any more unsafe encounters.


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