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Still worried and scared
Nov 12, 2012

Hello,

Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. I am a white heterosexual female, who had protected intercourse in July with an African-American man who I have known for many years. We have an "on again, off again" relationship .I also know he has had many partners. In the past, we have not always been diligent about using condoms (I am on the pill), but given the risks and his unknown status (I don't know for sure if he is negative for STD's and HIV, although he says he is), we use them now. I also wanted to use them more regularly because I was tested for HIV last year and was negative and hoped to stay that way. Last time we were together he brought up using condoms. That is actually one of the things that is making me nervous, as he didn't used to do this. Anyway, after we had intercourse and after he ejaculated, he withdrew and the condom slipped off. It was hanging out of my vagina (sorry to be graphic) and he grabbed it right away. There was no evidence that it broke or ripped but don't know if any semen leaked out onto my vagina (although there was some on the bed).

I called him weeks later to ask him if there was anything to worry about and he said, "No" and that he remembered that I wanted to use condoms, which is why he brought them up. He also said he wanted us to be "safe". I agree and was relieved. But then I started thinking about what I thought was a "stomach bug" I caught 6 days after we had sex (nausea one episode of vomiting and diarrhea , low grade fever, and fatigue) and wondered if it could be ARS. The vomiting and diarrhea was only one day, but the fatigue and loss of appetite lingered a few days afterwards. I became anxious again and decided to get an HIV test at 62 days post the event. It was the Oraquick Advance Rapid Test (with blood) and it was negative. The nurse told me that I should be fine and that result is at least 94% accurate. She told me I could come back after 3months, but I didn't need to because she felt my risk was very low. I felt so relieved, but then started reading on the internet about the "window period" and got anxious and confused again. I have tested a few times since then, with the most recent being at 16 weeks with the at-home Oraquick test, which was negative. I am still so anxious and don't know if I could still seroconvert or if I am really okay. Do I need to test out to 6 months? I am scared all the time and just wish I could get a definitive answer (if possible). I know I have anxiety, but I feel convinced that I contracted this. Please help sort things out for me.

Response from Dr. Hightow-Weidman

Hello there The standard for HIV tests, whether oral swab or blood (home or in clinic) are very accurate at 28 days, and conclusive at 90 days. At 16 weeks you can be assured that you are indeed negative. Stay safe. Take care LHW



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