[Question #4232] HIV RISK from a relationship

29 months ago
Dear doctor,

I have a few questions regarding my risk from a relationship. But, before that I would like to highlight few things:

All my previous exposures I had posted questions regarding them and were described as no risk events. Also, my last test was around last may and was nonreactive and it was 4th generation combo. Now here is my questions:

I have been in a relationship with women who just came to my country for work. She works as a cabin crew and just got hired when I met her about one week before we met each other. Later on we had protected sex. I have been in a relationship with her now for a month and a half or two months. She told me she is clean and believed her. Last two weeks we started having unprotected sex in about three occasions last one was 6 days ago. I suffer no symptoms at all. But am afraid I put myself at a risk for STDs and in particular HIV. I thought the fact that she just got tested for getting the job and that both of her parents are doctors as well as her confirming that she is clean is enough. But now I am worried that I have maybe put myself at a risk. Am not sure if I should get tested and what my risks are and if it's okay to continue having unprotected sex or should keep it protected.

I kindly need your guidance and advice.

Many thanks
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
29 months ago
Welcome (back) to the forum. We always like to review previous threads before answering new questions. However, the forum's search function according to username is currently down. Please let me know your previous thread number(s). In the meantime, I'll just say it sounds like your partner is very unlikely to have HIV and probably is at low risk for other STDs as well. But if in doubt, continuing to use condoms until you both have been tested would seem to make sense.

HHH, MD

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29 months ago
Hello doctor,

My previous threads numbers are 3891
 ‎ #3368
 ‎ #3284

I would like also to add that I did a 4th generation combo test today and was nonreactive but am not sure it this is done too early.

Many thanks
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
29 months ago
Thanks for that information.

I cannot tell how long after your last unprotected sexual exposure your recent test was done. In one or more of your previous threads, Dr. Hook informed you that the antigen-antibody (Ag/Ab, "4th generation", combo, duo) HIV tests are conclusive by 6 weeks. They are around 90% reliable at about 3 weeks after exposure.

As noted above, you describe a partner who seems to be at low risk for HIV, but that assumes that a relatively educated person from a professional background is at low risk. In general, that's probably true, but of course it says nothing about her actual risks (number and types of past partners, consistency of condom use, etc). When couples begin new relationships and initially use condoms, many often go for mutual HIV/STD testing and then stop using condoms when those tests are available, assuming negative test results. This would seem to make since for you and your new partner. (Even though you apparently were tested since your most recent prior sexual relationship, your partner would probably appreciate it if you were tested again now, especially if you ask her to be tested. Why should she trust your word any more than you trust hers about past risks?)

Having stopped using condoms, there's probably little point in going back to them, assuming you and she both plan to be tested.

My final comments is that you seem to be getting in the habit of coming to this forum to ask about risks for individual new partnerships or exposures. That's really not the role of this forum. Because we cannot know the details of risk (such as your current partner's past partnerships, as noted above), all we can do is give general advice. We can never assure with certainty that any particular partner is not infected, and hence always advise condoms for vaginal or anal sex with new partners and/or sex outside mutually committed monogamous relationships.

I hope this information is helpful. Let me know if anything isn't clear.

HHH, MD
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