Help a Marine out?
Apr 21, 2008
Hi Doctor Bob, I was hoping if you could answer my question. I'm currently a single ex-marine who has been out of the service for some time now. The last sexual encounter I had took place in 2002. Prior to that I've had numerous other encounters (primarily with CSW's overseas in Thailand, China, and other Asian countries). Recently I saw a commercial pertaining to HIV testing and it really struck me hard - Why haven't I been tested!!?? Again, my last exposure was in 2002. I've been reading up on the 'window period'. I keep seeing things pertaining to testing somewhere around 3 - 6 months but what about after that? Recently I developed a slight case of floaters, white tongue (could be from poor oral hygiene) and the occasional headache or two. My local clinic ONLY offers Oraquick Oral Advance tests, but coming across numerous websites (especially government sites), they always report extremely rare but possible cases of false-positives exclusively in the oral type test. Should I even bother getting tested or fly out to a larger city to get a Western Blot test done? With the Oral test, if it comes back negative, can I bet my life on it? I need your help Doctor Bob. Take care, God Bless.
Response from Dr. Frascino
HIV-antibody tests (ELISA, EIA, oral rapid tests, etc.) taken prior to the three-month mark are not considered to be definitive. However, these tests can be done (and remain accurate) anytime after three months. That includes many years later!
OraQuick Oral Advance tests work well for initial HIV screening. A negative test outside the "window period" (three months) is considered definitive and conclusive. A positive test is considered only "preliminarily positive" and requires confirmation with a Western Blot or IFA (immunofluorescent assay). Sensitivity and specificity of rapid tests is consistently greater than 99%. (Occasional false-positives can occur, but as indicated above, these would only be considered "preliminary" results and the follow-up, more specific, Western Blot would identify the preliminary result as a "false" positive).
So, do you need to fly to a larger city to get tested? No, absolutely not. If your oral test comes back negative, can you bet your life on it? Yep! Absolutely!
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