Thursday, October 29, 2009

Q & A: "Why is it that you have to wait for three month after you have intercourse with somebody to be tested?"

I have a few questions about HIV. Why is it that you have
to wait for three month after you have intercourse with somebody
to be tested? I had sex about two months ago with a person who I
do not really know much about and I am a little scared of HIV and
AIDS. I did use a condom but I don't know. One more question, if
you are HIV positive, does that mean you will die soon?

At first, after the HIV virus has entered your body, you
will test negative for HIV. That is because the standard
screening blood test detects antibodies you make to fight off the
HIV infection, and not the HIV virus itself. Those antibodies
take a while to form, and when they do, it is called
"seroconversion." In the case of HIV, we need to wait
approximately six months after your last contact with HIV to see
if you have seroconverted. Ninety-nine percent of people who are
going to convert will do so by then. Many people will convert
sooner (up to 95% at three months). To be able to confidently
reassure someone that they did not pick up HIV it is best to wait
the six months, although there may be situations where testing at
both three and six months make sense.

It's great you used a condom. If you have any questions about
using them correctly check out Contraception Contemplation.
Prevention of AIDS is only possible by preventing HIV
transmission.

Your last question is a difficult one. For someone who is
infected with the HIV virus, they can often look forward to many
years of good health. As you know, that can change with time, and
there is still no cure for the disease. However, there have been
small numbers of people reported who have "beat the odds." By
living much longer than expected, these people may ultimately
help show the way to long-term survival.

-- R. Jandl

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