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AIDS - effectiveness of tests

Q: How effective are the tests for detecting AIDS? I had a test done four months ago and it came out negative. Do I need to get it done again after six months?

A:A properly conducted test for HIV is very reliable if it comes out to be negative. Sometimes, rarely, it takes up to a maximum of 6 months after infection for a test to become positive. If you tested negative after 4 months the chances are that you are not infected, however to be absolutely sure you can have another test 6 months after the exposure. If you again test negative you can be sure that you escaped infection on that occasion. Please remember it is best to avoid casual sexual exposure. If you can not avoid it, the second best alternative is to use a good quality latex condom from start to finish. Remember to withdraw before the penis becomes completely limp to avoid the chance of the condom slipping of and resulting in risk/exposure. If the test at 6 months comes out positive, please have the test confirmed by repeating it. Only a repeated test can be believed for a positive result. Persons who are confirmed to be HIV positive should contact their doctor or counsellor.

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