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Symptoms of HIV
Mar 24, 2001

I don't know yet if I am HIV+. However, I have been noticing symptoms relative to HIV. About one month ago, I had unprotected sex. I did not know the sexual history of this girl, and yet I still managed to disappoint myself by not practicing safe sex. I know one must wait six months from the time of exposure, but what is the risk of the HIV developing to the point where it becomes AIDS within that six months? It's like a "double-edged sword" by waiting to get a test but also risking the development of full-blown AIDS. Could you please advise me?

Response from Dr. Little

While I hope that you are indeed HIV negative, there is no risk even if you were infected with HIV that you would develop AIDS before the 6 month time interval had elapsed. In fact, the progression from HIV infection to AIDS takes years in almost all but the most exceptional of individuals. My main concern would be that you not forget, but actually do get the appropriate testing done in 6 months. It may be worth asking a local community based organization or your physician if there is a program in your region which is avaiable to test for early HIV infection (that is, it is possible to detect HIV infection prior to the development of a positive HIV antibody test). Testing for very early HIV infection is not universally performed, but if there is such a program in your area, these tests may be readily available.

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