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In the Window Period...
May 12, 2009

Currently living overseas, in a developing country, and was in a manogamous relationship from January-April of this year, with numerous instances of unprotected sex. Found out last week that my partner recently tested HIV positive. I took a test immediately and it came out negative- this is 4 weeks after our last time together. The test they use here is a rapid test- they drew blood and i think the test is called Serodia.

How long do I have to wait to feel confident about my test and should I have another kind of test done? Also, why is it that some people contract HIV from a single exposure, while others who are repeatedly exposed, do not contract it?

Thanks for this forum. This site is very helpful

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

"Why do some people contract HIV from a single exposure while others who are repeatedly exposed do not contract it?" Excellent question! Glad you asked. The answer is that not every HIV exposure leads to HIV transmission. The best analogy may be pregnancy. For some it's possible to become pregnant on the very first try while for others it may take months or years before finally conceiving.

Regarding follow-up testing, your negative HIV test at four weeks from the time of your last potential exposure is encouraging, but not yet definitive. You'll need a follow-up HIV-antibody test (ELISA, EIA or rapid test) at the three-month mark. Because you've had a significant exposure to a partner confirmed to be HIV infected, the CDC also recommends an additional follow-up test at the six-month mark for a definitive and conclusive HIV-negative result.

Good luck and you're welcome!

Dr. Bob



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