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Testing too early?

Feb 4, 2005

Hiya, doctor Bob...

Wonder if I could get your esteemed opinion on something. This isn't really an HIV question, but you're the expert on all this stuff and I can't really find a good answer.

I had a "thing" with someone this weekend where we ended up fooling around... oral sex contact but nothing more. Pretty minimal at that. Now I'm having a case of buyer's remorse, so to speak, and thinking I'd be better off to rule out having caught anything.

I know HIV odds are slim but I'm a worrier and I'll probably get tested at three months. Ditto for syphilis/hep, etc.

My question: I am not having any symptoms but wondering about chlamydia and gonorrhea. I know it's not as likely to catch these from oral sex, but wanted to rule it out. Went in today for a culture (did both vaginal and oral swabs for both bacteria just in case). I was thinking I was being very proactive and responsible handling it so quickly. Now I'm wondering if I waited long enough at all. Would it be likely to pick up the infection after only 4-5 days?

I saw something on another forum in the archives, saying that these didn't really have a window and should pick up infection right away once it's present, but that was a few years back, and I trust you and would rather hear it straight from you, if you'd be so kind.

Thanks bunches, my friend. Hope you're feeling well and causing all kinds of trouble out in the Bay area.


Your panicked Midwest fan

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Midwest Panicker,

The information you read is correct. Screening HIV ELISA tests require a three-month or longer "window period," because the tests are based on anti-HIV antibodies that our immune system makes when it is confronted with HIV. The production of these antibodies can take a while to build up to a level than can be consistently and reliably detected by our testing methods. Screening for many other STDs does not involve the body's antibody response mechanism and therefore eliminates this "window period." I see no cause for you to be concerned. All physicians and clinics should be well versed on basic STD screening procedures even in the Midwest.

You're welcome bunches!

Dr. Bob

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