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HIV test after possible exposure

Jul 5, 2006

I've made the biggest mistake of my life. 3 weeks ago I had sex with a woman that was not my wife. She is a friend of a friend. I performed oral on her and we had vaginal sex with a condom. I've been married over 8 years. This is the first time I've ever done something this stupid and I will never do it again. I don't know why I did this and am very distraught over it, both from the guilt of infidelity and the worry I may have contracted an STD. 1 week ago (14 days after the incident) I provided a urine sample and 3 vials of blood for a battery of STD tests: Syphilis (RPR ?) Chlamydia Gonnorhea Herpes 1 (IGM test?) Herpes 2 (IGM test?) HIV (PCR Test)

One-by-one, all the tests came back negative until finally, 4 days later, the HIV test result was negative. I inquired about the 28-days that most places claim is required to take the PCR test and the testing center told me that there is enough research and published literature out there to show that HIV will show up by the PCR test as soon as 72 hours after infection and 14 days later would be enough time for a reliable test.

I'm starting some therapy today to help deal with my anxiety and guilt but am worried about the potential of a false negative from the PCR test.

Two questions: 1) How much should I trust the test result for the HIV PCR test and the other tests as well?

2) What is my risk of HIV infection considering the oral and condom-protected vaginal sex?

Response from Dr. Horwath

The PCR test is not intended as a screening test. For the most part, it is used to measure viral load. The standard screening tests are ELISA and Western blot, which are greater than 99.9% sensitive. You should trust the results. You may repeat after 3 months to be sure.

The risk of HIV transmission with oral sex and condom-protected vaginal sex is extremely low.

How long does HIV live outside the body?
To sleep, perchance to dream...

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