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Window Period and Exposure
Oct 13, 2006

Dr Frascino, I have a question involving total exposure risk and the window period - Here's the story: I went into town, met a guy at the local gay bar, we went home and had protected sex; or at least, it was protected until the condom broke. After a couple of seconds, once we both realized it, he pulled out, put on another one, no problem after that, he never ejaculated in me although its quite possible I was exposed to pre-ejaculate fluid ( precum ). For a brief time there when the condom broke, I felt him inside of me. He told me later on that he had just had an HIV test three week's prior and it came back negative. However, from reading your archives and the site in general, I am aware those results are only good as far back as 3 month's prior, i.e. he could still be in that " window period " where he really is positive but it can't be detected if anything occured after that 3 month mark. He was going out with this rather promiscous guy who cheated on him over the summer, during the time of that window period, so I am concerned. He assures me he used condoms every time with this so-called boyfriend, but I don't trust any man when it comes to sex. My questions are: do you believe I should have an HIV test? How big was the risk I just put myself in, i.e. I know all risk is relative, but I am very risk averse. Are we talking very minimal odds, seeing as how he just tested negative, or does the fact he is in a window period put me in the same 1 in 200 chance of unprotected anal sex ( even though it was very, very brief when I was unprotected ).I just had an HIV test about 2 months ago but obviously may have to re-do it. Will you let me know your opinion? I live about an hour and a half from the nearest clinic and would have to schedule it a bit far in advance. Thanks in advance, I would say I would make a donation if you answer but I have been donating to your organization for the past year and a half and will continue to do so irregardless of whether you answer. Once I move to the " big city " I want to donate my time to an AIDS charity also. Thanks again Dr. Frascino, hopefully this isn't too convoluted. By the way, this site is a great service for those of who live in rural areas and don't have easy access to talk to anyone about this, certainly not these conservative quack doctors ( who by the way, have never heard of PEP - they probably think it PCP lol )! Thanks again !

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Your risk would be extremely minimal, almost negligible, but not completely nonexistent because of the remote theoretical possibility that your partner was HIV positive but still in the window period.

Should you retest? Well, the option is always open to you and since you were concerned enough to write in for advice, I'd suggest you take a three-month test just to put any residual fears, however remote or theoretical, permanently to rest. Living 1.5 hours away from the nearest clinic is a drag. Even worse, it sounds very "red state" in your habitat! Please accept our heartiest condolences! I do hope you'll soon be liberated to the "Big City" or at least the land of the sane and rational. In the meantime do watch out for that Foley character, OK?

Thank you for your tax-deductible donations to The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org). They are warmly appreciated. I'm sending you my very best good-luck/good-health karma that your follow-up test will remain negative. I'm actually extremely confident it will. Write back and we'll WOO-HOO together, OK?

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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