Gay In Waiting
Dear Dr. Dick,
Last night I had sex with a guy who I didn't know very well. He said that he was HIV negative but I am really nervous that he wasn't being honest. I want to get tested and make sure I am still negative but I remember reading somewhere that if you get tested too soon, it will create a false negative because there hasn't been enough time for the HIV to show up in your system.
When can I go get tested and know that everything is alright?
Gay in waiting
Dear Gay in waiting,
You are right about waiting to get tested. HIV can be tricky to test for because of the "window period." Your body had to produce enough HIV antibodies for the test to be able to detect them. The amount of time can be different for each person but it can vary from 2-8 weeks.
The best antibody tests start to pick up anti-HIV antibodies about 3-4 weeks after HIV acquisition. You can test 1-2 weeks after exposure. Then you want to get retested after three months to confirm that you are HIV negative.
PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis) is also an option - if you had unprotected anal sex with a guy whose status you really didn't know within the last 72 hours, get evaluated for post-exposure prophylaxis.
Here is a link to where to get tested in King County: