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Home tests; HIV1 and HIV2; Window Period
Dec 6, 1996

Hi Rick, I am hoping that you will response to my question because this situation is driving me crazy. I had protected sex with a prostitute for 30 seconds until it finally dawned on me that I was not doing the right thing. 5 seconds after I ejaculated, I put on my underwear and went to the bathroom to do the cleaning. I checked the condom and it was still on and safe. However, what scared me was that vaginal fluids (residue) that was left on the condom might have been possibly transferred to my underwear and again back to my penis when I eventually pulled my pants up. I made sure that I washed my penis in the meanwhile. (I also had shaved my penis area couple days before the incident). Anyway, I took home tests at 16 and 28 weeks and both came out to be Negative. Do you think that I am still at risk? And, Do you think that I should also be tested for HIV2 since the test only was for HIV1? Where are the places someone can get tested for both? I want to be sure that I don't have any type of HIV. Please help me. Thanks for your time and keep up the good work.

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your questions.

If a person tests negative for HIV-1, and it's been more than 6 months after a possible exposure to the virus, the tests are more than 99% accurate, as good as any test in medicine could ever be. If you tested negative at 28 weeks (7 months), this would indicate, with more than 99% accuracy, that you are not infected with HIV-1.

As far as HIV-2 is concerned, this virus is only rarely found outside of Western Africa. This is a separate virus from HIV-1 (not a strain of HIV-1). Both HIV-1 and HIV-2 cause the same disease, and are transmitted the same way. The only people who would be at risk for HIV-2 would be West Africans, and sex/needle sharing partners of West Africans. In the United States, as of June 30, 1995, there were only 62 reported cases of HIV-2 infection. This compares to the estimated 650,000-900,000 cases of HIV-1 in the USA. The vast majority of these 62 cases were in West Africans, or persons having sex or sharing needles with West Africans. The only routine testing for HIV-2 is in the blood supply. However, DO NOT DONATE BLOOD TO BE TESTED FOR HIV-2!

If you have been at risk for HIV-2 (as described above), discuss this with your physician, who can then order an HIV-2 test, if it's necessary. Because HIV-2 is so rare outside of Western Africa, most testing clinics do not do HIV-2 testing. Home tests are also limited to HIV-1 testing only. But a physician can specially order the test if the need is there. However, if you didn't have a West African connection, you would not be considered at risk for HIV-2.

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



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