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Ask Dr. K

How often should I get tested if I'm sexually active? It used to be that you had to take the test once, then again six months later (especially if you were starting a monogamous relationship).

The current HIV tests detect the presence of HIV antibody. HIV antibody is your body's response to the presence of HIV virus. In most persons it takes a few weeks to develop antibodies that are detectable by current tests. 95% of people develop antibodies within 3 months after being infected. It is recommended that people take a second test in 6 months, because 99% of those infected will develop antibodies within 6 months. A positive test is positive no matter when the test was. A negative test becomes more and more a true and accurate result the longer after the possible exposure.

To your health,
Dr. K

Last modified on Tuesday, June 03, 2008.
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