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Do I need to test again?

Jun 9, 2008

Dr. Bob,

I had an encounter nine weeks ago with a woman, and have had 3 tests since then. I know she has many sex partners, so I wanted to be sure and get tested.

I had unprotected oral sex and protected sex with a latex condom. I did contract an STD, so I went to get tested. Since then, I have been a nervous wreck, but I've had some encouraging results.

I had a 4 week ELISA/WB done, an OraSure at 8 weeks, and a 9-week OraQuick Advance test and they were all negative.

Do I still need a 12- week test to be sure? What is the average time frame for antibodies to develop? I would really like to know your opinion, and a donation will be made as always.

Response from Dr. Frascino


All of this information is readily available in the archives. (Check it out.) So I'll be brief and refer you to the archives for more detailed discussion of this topic.

1. Your HIV-acquisition risk is negligible. Protected sex is protected, assuming the latex condom was used properly and did not fail. Oral sex carries only a very low risk for HIV acquisition.

2. HIV-antibody tests taken prior to the three-month mark are not considered to be definitive or conclusive. Your repeatedly negative tests out to nine weeks are encouraging, but not conclusive.

3. Most HIV-infected people will have detectable levels of anti-HIV antibodies in their blood and consequently will test HIV positive within 4-6 weeks. However, please note "most" is not nearly good enough when dealing with an illness like HIV. Consequently you will need a test at the three-month mark, OK?

Thank you for your donation to the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation ( It's both urgently needed and warmly appreciated. In return I'll send you my good-luck karma that your definitive three-month HIV test will continue to be negative. (I'm confident it will!)

Good luck.

Dr. Bob

Window period
Alone in the States

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