Medical Q&As

HIV test - need to wait?

I have recently been to Thailand and had sex with 2 girls and the condom burst on both occasions. I want to go for a HIV test but am not sure if I have to wait first. Could you please tell me if I have to wait for a length of time or can I go now.

There have been rare isolated reports of transmission of HIV where the antibody test did not become positive until a year after exposure. However, the vast majority of cases “seroconvert” within three months of exposure to the virus. Therefore it is generally recommended that the HIV test be deferred until three months has elapsed from the time of possible exposure. It is important to realise that if a person has contracted the virus that that person can pass on the virus to others within that three month time frame. Apart from any consideration of possible HIV exposure you should consider the possibility of having been exposed to other STDs. You could be screened for these infections at this stage while scheduling the HIV test for later. You should see your GP or visit an STD clinic in order to undergo such screening. One final point to consider is the fact that the condom burst on two separate occasions suggests that the condoms were not applied properly. You might like to check out our special feature on condoms at: http://www.irishhealth.com/index.html?level=4&id=115.