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Enough HIV Testing?
Nov 3, 2011

Hi,

I had unprotected vaginal and oral sex with a sex worker - I believe that I may have been given something a drink earlier that night by someone else, as the entire experience was very, very out of character for me, and I was very cavalier about it all until I seemed to 'wake up' in the middle of having sex. She swears up and down that she always uses a condom, and made an exception for me, as I'd already paid. She was very irate, and seemed very convincing, but I'm not too convinced - she did it with me, after all; did she make other exceptions?

I convinced her to have an HIV antibody test the next morning (I helped her do it myself, and I mailed it off myself to the lab). I then went to my doctor, had a full STD panel done (including an HIV antibody test), and 9 after the encounter, I had an HIV DNA test done at a local lab. All tests came back negative.

Should I have another DNA test done after 21 days, or should I be ok? I do still plan to have an antibody test done at 3 and 6 months, but at this point, it's about my peace of mind. It's driving me crazy.

As an aside, a local doctor did initially prescribe me the post-exposure prophyaptic (sp?), Combavir, before the negative results came back on the antibody tests, and before the DNA test. I took the full dose (2 pills) for two days, and then one pill a day for three days, after the antibody results came back. What are the chances that this, or the sex worker's heavy smoking (I had to prick her finger) could produce a false negative result?

Both of the Doctors I've seen for this are convinced that I'm negative. Should I be as convinced as they are, or do I have false peace of mind from their decision? Do I need another DNA test after 21-28 days? (I would have to test on the 7th of Nov for 28 days)

Response from Mr. Cordova

Hi, there:

Thanks for writing in. You know the old saying, third times the charm? Well, in this case, I am agreeing with the other two doctors. I'm convinced that you are negative.

Her negative test would indicate that she was indeed negative, unless she had become infected in the past 25 days or so. While that's POSSIBLE, it's NOT LIKELY. The fact that she was a heavy smoker would have no bearing on her test result.

We can't be certain of the accuracy of a PCR DNA test result at nine days, but I don't advise you to go for another.

I think you would be fine to wait until the 3 month mark to test for a conclusive answer on this exposure. IF you just can't get it out of your mind, then I would suggest a rapid HIV test. Most people will show up positive after 25 days.

I hope this helps.

In Health, Richard



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