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Accuracy of 4-Month HIV-Antibody Test
Jan 13, 2004

Hi, Dr. Frascino. This may be another question to add to the hypochondriac pile you probably already have =) but i figure, hey, i might as well try. I am a 19-year old female who had protected vaginal sex with a male friend (who i don't have a reason to believe has HIV, but the possibility should always be there, right?) no oral or anal sex was involved. This took place July 23rd (i remember, it was the 1st and last time i had sex this year...i had one other partner (always protected) a year ago, but i've been tested for HIV and STD's in June since that. No problem. Well since that episode in July, I didnt think anything of HIV until after I donated blood at the end of November. The blood center sent me a donor card, no problems w/ my blood, but then World AIDS Day started popping up everywhere. I was at low-risk, but I couldn't stop thinking what if the HIV got to me somehow (if he even had it...too scared to ask, i feel stupid)... the blood donation was about 4 months after the episode and then about a 1 1/2 weeks later (right before Thanksgiving) i had a Orasure HIV test at the clinic (even the woman told me i was at low-risk) that would be at 4months almost exactly from my last possible exposure. That too was negative. I tested for other STD's as well, all results were negative. Well, it's a month after the fact (5 months) and i'm still a worried mess because I keep reading about the window period. I'm a mess, inside, but outside I don't show it (i'm good at that) i just feel so scared and alone, because i have no one to talk too... i'm too ashamed to tell my family or even my best-friends. My only *listening ear* was the lady who tested me. What do you think?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Yep, right to the top of that ever-expanding hypochondriac pile! Good news for you, eh?

First off, "protected sex" is protected, so there was essentially no risk involved, assuming the latex condom was used properly and did not fail. Next, you've had several HIV tests already, the blood bank screen for HIV-1 and HIV-2, and your four-month Orasure. So there you have it a very simple equation:

Essentially no risk plus negative tests out to four months equals hypochondriac.

If you're having trouble accepting your HIV-negative status and can't confide in friends or family, consider getting some counseling. They are paid to be "listening ears."

Congratulations on your negative tests. Stay well and feel better, OK?

Dr. Bob



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