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Do I HAVE to wait 3 months?
Mar 18, 2009

Hi Dr. Bob:

I think the work you do on this site is amazing and will be donating! (hopefully upon response)

So, here is my question: about 6 weeks ago I had unprotected vaginal intercourse with a man I do not know that well. We had brief talks both before and after in which he assured me that he is tested regularly and has no STIs/HIV, but about a week after our 1-time unprotected sex act, he revealed a side of himself that I hadn't seen before and was scary enough for me to end the relationship. So, I do not necessarily trust his word.

Now I'm trying to come to terms with the fact that I made a very poor decision and am certainly getting tested at 3 months. BUT, that seems like such a long time from now! (6 more weeks).

To make it worse, we both live in DC, where a report was just released that at least 3% of the population has HIV. We do not fit the typical DC "demographic" as we are both white and fairly upper class, but I know the disease doesn't discriminate.

So, should I wait 6 more weeks or is there any use in getting tested now? (If I do get tested now and the results are negative, do I have to get tested again in 6 weeks anyway?)

And, if you advise me to simply wait 6 weeks, any advice on how to pass the time without freaking out?

Thank you!!!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Unprotected sex does place you at some degree of risk for STDs, including HIV. An HIV test at the three-month mark is recommended for a definitive result. HIV-antibody tests taken prior to the three-month mark are not considered to be conclusive.

The news that 3% of adults in Washington, D.C. are HIV infected is indeed shocking. Twenty percent of DC's AIDS cases have been traced to intravenous drug use. That means a large part of the 3% incidence rate is due to the disastrous nine-year ban that prevented DC from using locally raised tax dollars to fund clean needle-exchange programs! These programs have been scientifically proven to reduce the transmission of HIV/AIDS! The ban has recently been lifted, but the damage caused by the Bush/Cheney administration's refusal to lift the ban is now tragically coming into focus. Bush/Cheney and their anti-science, anti-common sense policies have hobbled AIDS prevention efforts both in this country and abroad. Obama is quickly reversing these unconscionable policies.

As for what to do for the next six weeks, why not volunteer some of your time at an HIV/AIDS service organization. The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation has given a grant to a clean needle-exchange program in D.C. called "Prevention Works!" That might be one organization to try. There are many others that provide meals, transportation services and even pet care for those struggling to survive with the challenge of AIDS. This type of volunteer work is not only very rewarding; it also helps to put your personal problems and worries into proper perspective. I'd also suggest you spend some time reviewing the information on this Web site, in the archives and on the related links to learn more about HIV/AIDS prevention and transmission. This will hopefully help you to make wiser decisions going forward so that you'll never wind up in this anxiety-provoking situation again.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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