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Am I out of the woods?
Aug 31, 2010

My husband was diagnosed with HIV in April during the acute phase of his infection (a shocking development since although we have an open relationship he is obsessive about safe sex and it was probably the result of condom breakage of which he was unaware). I was his receptive anal sex partner many times while he was infected including 6 days before he was diagnosed. Up until his diagnosis we did not practice safe sex with each other and we regularly exchanged bodily fluids. 2 weeks after his diagnosis I tested negative for both the antibody and PCR HIV tests. I retook both tests 2 and half months later and both were again negative. My doctor said that pretty conclusively I was not infected. Do you agree?

Response from Dr. McGowan

I am sorry to hear about what you and your husband are going through.

Yes, it is true that the majority of HIV transmission would be identified by a 12 week post-exposure test. We would generally recommend a test at 24 weeks (6 months) to be especially certain. Delayed conversions have been reported when people have taken preventive treatment (PEP), however that was not an issue for you since you were unaware of the exposure. Rarely delayed conversion might be seen when Hepatitis C was also transmitted. If your husband has tested negative for Hep C that also would not be an issue for you.

Best to you and your husband. Joe



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