Contact with a positive person; how much does testing/treatment cost?

Question

Hello there. My new partner and I have been together for less than a month. He recently told me he has been HIV-positive for 4 years but is still "almost undetectable", whatever that means. Thus far I've engaged in oral sex on several occasions, both giving and receiving, and given anal sex twice, both times without ejaculating inside him. I can find no place to get tested until Monday so I'm trying to get an idea of what to do. I was thinking going directly to a blood test since it's only been a couple weeks since I was exposed. The issue is that I currently do not have insurance, and while my finances are reasonable, unexpected medical bills at this time will put me in a serious predicament. What's the cheapest way I can be SURE I got away clean?

Answer

Hi,

Following a significant exposure with a partner documented to be HIV positive, HIV-antibody testing is recommended at three months (from the date of the last exposure) and, if negative, at six months for a definitive result. Assuming the insertive anal sex you had with your poz-partner was unprotected, the 3/6-month guidelines would apply to you. Usually your local STD clinic or public health department would offer free or inexpensive HIV screening. There are also a number of other free HIV-screening programs available in some cities. Call your local AIDS service organizations and ask them if there are any free or very inexpensive HIV-testing programs in your area.

Sorry to hear you are one of the 47,000,000 Americans without health insurance. Once again I strongly encourage all readers of this forum to support universal health care!

Good luck. I'm here if you need me, OK?

Dr. Bob