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Accuracy of std-hiv testing

Feb 11, 1997

Dear Rick, I would like to know how accurate both std and hiv testing is for males. I had two rounds of tests done because i was experiencing very minor pain in the groin/seat when sitting. The tests included having blood and swab cultures taken and tested (twice 8 weeks apart) for hiv, gon., syph.,and clymdia. These tests were done at about five and seven months after i had protected sex with a "high-risk" individual. Still, I am very worried that I may have contracted something and it not show up. The doctor said that the minor symptoms were not std-related, and to avoid sitting for extended periods. This seems to have helped, but I'm still concerned. Are these tests accurate?

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question.

By 7 months after infection, if you were infected with HIV, syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea, you would have tested positive. Often, for many of the STD's, a person can test positive within a month or so after infection. In the case of HIV, it can take as long as 6 months. Since you have tested negative at 7 months for these diseases, this indicates that you were not infected with these diseases from the encounter you're concerned about. Therefore, this would indicate that any symptoms you may be having would be due to other causes, not HIV or other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD's).

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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