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Get tested now, today and then get tested again later The Body: Rick Sowadsky M.S.P.H., C.D.S, Answers to Safe Sex Questions
Jan 7, 1997

Getting tested now, today and then again later is more effective than waiting to get tested after some window or latency period. That way it's possible to determine infection earlier than later. There's also determining when exposure happened more accurately. Getting tested for everything including all sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, TB and vaccinated for hepatitus B and A can rule those out too. When STD testing detects one infection, isn't there very often another infection? Doesn't an infection lower resistance when exposed to other infections? Partners together getting tested now, today, further reduce ambiguity.

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question. Different people prefer to get tested for HIV different ways. Some people prefer to wait 6 months and then get tested. They only want to get tested once. Others prefer to get tested at 3 and 6 months. Some people prefer to get tested even more than this. However often an individual decides to get tested, is up to them. During a 6 month period, getting tested once, twice or more doesn't make that much difference, as long as the person understands that it can take up to 6 months to show positive on an HIV antibody test.

I do encourage people who have had a sexual risk for HIV, to be tested for other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD's) as well. If a person is exposed to one STD, they may be exposed to others at the same time. You can have unprotected sex with a person who has multiple STD's, and not necessarily get all of these infections at the same time. You may get one infection, two, three, or more at the same time. Or you may get none of them at all. Some people are just luckier than others. But the more times you're exposed, the greater the chances of getting one or more infections. Having one infection may or may not increase your risk of getting another infection. But if you have been infected with one STD, it's a good idea to be tested for others, just in case you've been infected with more than one STD at the same time.

It is up to each individual to decide whether they want to get tested or not, and what steps they are willing to take to protect themselves. Some people prefer to be tested by themselves. Others prefer to be tested with their partners. And some prefer not to be tested at all. I encourage people who have been at risk to be tested, and to take steps to prevent others from becoming infected. But it's ultimately up to each individual to decide what steps they are willing to take to protect themselves, and their partners.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).



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