Repeated exposure to HIV and still test negative?

Question

Hello Dr.

I am concerned that I may be exposing myself to HIV. My boyfriend of 4 years was very promiscuous before he was with me (although he used condoms) and we have had unprotected sex for almost 3.5 years. He will not get tested for HIV because he says he has no insurance (excuses, excuses). However I have been tested twice (once in 2001 and again in late 2002) Both tests came back negative. Having been repeatedly exposed to my boyfriends sexual secretions for about 4 years, need I be worried that he could have HIV? We have had unprotected sex at least twice a week since we have been together.Is there any way that repeated exposure to a possible HIV infected partner for four years could still not infect me?

Thanks!

Answer

Hi,

"Is there any way that repeated exposures to a possible HIV-infected partner for four years could still not infect you?" Yes, it is possible. Most HIV exposures do not result in transmission of the virus. However, on the other hand, it may take only a single exposure -- like Russian roulette. Are you willing to continue taking that risk? I would not accept the "no insurance" excuse for not getting an HIV test. After all, it's been 3.5 years! My recommendation would be to insist on condoms and retest in three months. If that test is negative, you can be confident you have not acquired HIV. Good luck.

Dr. Bob