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Ask Dr. K

I engaged in French kissing with someone who is HIV positive. I later got very worried, and so went to get tested 11 weeks after the possible exposure. I tested negative. Do I need to get re-tested since another week of the window period remained? I've also heard that the new OraQuick 20 minute rapid test (which is what I had done) can detect HIV antibodies as early as six weeks. Is this true?

The overwhelming evidence points to the fact that kissing, including French kissing, is in no way a risk for transmitting HIV. You don't need to get re-tested if the only potentially risky activity you've engaged in was French kissing with an HIV positive partner.

As for your questions about the OraQuick rapid HIV test, here are the basics. The OraQuick rapid test can detect HIV antibodies in an infected person's blood or oral fluids. Whether the test is done on blood or oral fluids, results can be available within 20 to 40 minutes after testing. A preliminary positive test would mean that further testing needs to be done to confirm the presence of HIV antibodies. In clinical studies, the test has been proven over 99% accurate. OraQuick may not detect HIV infection in people who were exposed within 3 months before being tested, the same as the tests where results take longer. This is because it can take that long for antibodies to HIV to be detectable in the blood or oral fluids.

San Francisco City Clinic, however, offers a new HIV test called the HIV RNA test that can detect HIV virus within 10 days. For more information on City Clinic services and hours, click here.

To your health,
Dr. K

Last modified on Wednesday, May 05, 2010.
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