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At 6 weeks am considering traveling to England for Duo Test
Jun 14, 2010

I am at 6 weeks Friday and although I have a local HIV test scheduled I am considering flying to England immediately afterwar (assuming I test negative) for a "Duo Test". I am considering this just to gain some peace of mind from their published claims of 99.8% accuracy after 28 days. Do you think I am crazy for considering this? Although a number of sources say negative testing at 6 weeks is "highly reassuring" my analytical mind does not understand "highly reassuring". Is that 40%, 50%, 70%, 90% or ? With the absence of trusted statistics regarding conventional testing accuracy at various intervals I'd like to ask your opinion. With a 6 week negative in the USA am I wasting my time traveling to England for a Duo Test? I am at low risk having protected vaginal and unprotected (receptive) oral from a couple Thai CSW. My anxiety is super high though as I have had a sore throat, swollen Lymph nodes and a dry cough all starting a couple weeks after exposure. These symptoms remain and torment me with every cough and swallow. Strep and Mono have booth been ruled out. Flights, hotel and appointment have all been made. I just have to decide if it is worth it. FYI, cost is not really a concern as I have enough FF miles and perks to cover all the travel costs.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

There are many reasons to consider a trip across the pond to Merry Ol' England, but getting a 28-day HIV Duo test is definitely not one of them! Sure, if you want to catch a show in the West End, see the Changing of the Guard or even drop in on the Queen for a spot of tea, fine, go. However, making the trip because of "published claims of 99.8% accuracy after 28 days" is pure lunacy. You can get the same tests here in the U.S. (albeit perhaps without the identical published claims).

Your HIV-acquisition risk (protected vaginal and unprotected oral sex) is exceedingly low. HIV-antibody test accuracy is the same worldwide. Recommendations as to what is considered "highly reassuring" compared to presumptively or definitively negative vary considerably from location to location. There are many reasons for this which I have discussed ad nauseum in this forum, so I won't bother to reiterate the discussion points on the HIV-antibody test accuracy and window periods again. You can review that information in the archives.

I'd suggest you cancel your travel plans and donate those frequent flyer miles to a local HIV/AIDS charity. You'll feel much better and avoid a nasty case of jet lag.

Good luck. Be well.

Dr. Bob



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