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Woman giving oral sex to man
Mar 12, 1997

Dear Mr. Sowadsky, I recently had an HIV test which was negative, and it had been nine months since my last experience with sex, which was unprotected with a man. But 4 months ago I gave oral sex to a straight man, and have been worried. I called him recently to ask him if he had ever ben tested for HIV, and he said he had. If my test is negative at 4 months, can I feel pretty secure that I'm OK? I worry because I have a new boyfriend now, and we have only used pill for birth control, since I didn't think I was at risk. He knows about this encounter, and we have decided to use condoms until I feel safe, since he doesn't feel I have anything to worry about. But the waiting is driving me crazy, and my biggest worry is that I may have infected this man. Please anwer with advice . Thank you.

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question.

As to the risks from giving a man oral sex, please see the question, "Oral Sex", which goes over the risks of giving a man oral sex in detail.

As to the accuracy of the test, let me once again, review the accuracy of the antibody tests:

The AVERAGE period of time that an infected person will show positive on the test is 25 days. This is an average, so not all people will test positive by this point in time.

The USUAL period of time that an infected person will show positive on the test is 3 months. This means that most (but not all) infected people will show positive on the test by this time.

The MAXIMUM period of time that an infected person will show positive on the test is 6 months. By this point in time, more than 99% of infected persons will show positive on the test. This is as accurate as any test in medicine could ever be.

For the most accurate test result, you must wait 6 months after your last possible exposure to the virus (or anytime afterward). At 6 months, the tests are more than 99% accurate. If you get tested before the 6 month waiting period, you could have the infection but the test won't pick it up.

If you have tested negative at 4 months, we can say that you were probably not infected. However, this is not conclusive or definitive, since some people can take as long as 6 months to show positive. Therefore, you still need to take a 6 month test to get the most accurate test result. A 6 month test is considered a conclusive test result. But testing negative at 4 months is certainly a good sign that you're probably not infected. 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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