“Early HIV detection tests after condom broke with sex worker”

Dear Doc:
I had protected sex with sex worker.  At the end, the condom broke. After this potential exposure, I have had the following early HIV detection tests: 1) after 4 weeks — P24 antigen and antibody test –negative result, and 2) after 9 weeks — PCR DNA test — negative result. What is your opinion and advice: is the risk over with this OR should I have an ELISA test after 12 weeks ( 3months)?

To date I have stopped direct sex (used a condom) with my partner, telling different false reasons. Now it is becoming difficult for me to carry on the same with my life partner. No reason to say anything further to her. Can I start direct sex (meaning without a condom) with my life partner?


The tests that you refer to (the P24 antigen and antibody test and the PCR DNA test) are very sensitive, accurate, and expensive tests. See http://www.avert.org/hivtesting.htm#q7 for more information. Based upon the negative results of these tests, for all intents and purposes, you can say that you did not contract HIV during the encounter with the sex worker during which the condom broke. There is no harm in having an ELISA test after 3 months or even 6 months after the risk event, if you would like, but there is really no reason to doubt the results of the tests you’ve already had.

It is admirable that you decided to use condoms with your life partner until you are certain of your HIV status. You refer to “telling different false reasons” to your life partner. In other words, you are lying to your life partner and, as a result, “Now it is becoming difficult for me to carry on the same with [my] life partner.” Perhaps some professional counselling and examination of some COMMUNICATION issues might be of help to you with this.  How long do you think your “life” partner will be around if the relationship is built on a foundation that includes lies? A self-examination along these lines might help you answer the question “Can I start direct sex means without condom with [my] life partner?”

Good luck,

Dr. Punewali

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