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White spots in throat--could it be a symptom?
Sep 10, 1996

While on business in S. Korea, I had sex with a prostitute. Although we used a condom, after we had sex, she grabbed the outside of the condom (with her vaginal fluids on it) with her hand, pulled it off, and then used the same hand to fondle the then unprotected head of my penis. Her hand only came into contact with the head of my penis for a few seconds, but nonetheless I am worried. She also french kissed an area of my cheek which had a couple of fresh shaving cuts. I got myself tested for HIV 10 weeks after this encounter with a good (negative) result. I have two questions: 1. Am I in any danger of having picked up HIV from her during this encounter? 2. How accurate is an HIV test at detecting antibodies after 10 weeks? 70%, 80%? Thanks.

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question.

As far as your risk is concerned, during the time you were having intercourse with the prostitute, your risk was low, as long as you were using the condom correctly and it did not break. Both latex and polyurethane (plastic) condoms will protect you against HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD's). However, if it was a natural (sheepskin/lambskin) condom, this will not protect against infectious diseases. But if you used a latex or polyurethane condom, and used it correctly, you were adequately protected against HIV and other STD's.

As far as the kissing was concerned, nobody has ever been infected with HIV through kissing, so this would not be considered a risk. Normally, when kissing, you're only being exposed to saliva, and nobody has ever been infected through saliva.

As far as her touching your penis with her hands, this would be considered low risk, although not zero risk. In order to get infected, her vaginal secretions would have to get into your bloodstream in order to infect you. Although this is possible while she was touching your penis, it is unlikely. The less vaginal secretions that was on her hands, the less the risk would be. And the less the period of time that you were exposed to her vaginal secretions, the less the risk would be.

As far as the accuracy of the test is concerned:

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.

So, in your case at 10 weeks, all we can say is that the test may or may not pick up the infection at this point in time. But the further along the test is since the exposure, the more accurate the test is. Nobody can give you an exact percentage of accuracy at 10 weeks. But the above information should give you some idea of where you stand in terms of the accuracy of your test.

If you have further questions, please e-mail me at "nvhotline@aol.com" or call me at 1-800-842-AIDS.



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