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Ask the Experts

Question:

Last week, when I was drunk, I had my first, and very unexpected, sexual experience with a male friend. We did not use protection. Should I get tested for HIV? And where do I go from here? I am in love with my wife and cannot imagine telling her what happened or suggesting we use condoms when she is on the pill.

Answered by: Alex Carballo-Dieguez

The HIV tests more frequently used detect the antibody to the virus, not the virus itself. Sometimes, antibodies need only two weeks to show up, but other times they take up to three moths. You can get tested for HIV now, but will need to follow up with a second test in three months and not have risky sex in between. The issue of whether to tell your wife or not is something you have to decide on your own. Telling her you had sex outside the relationship may ruin it; not telling her may expose her to a virus. It is a tough choice, and only you can decide. Besides that, you should examine your drinking habits. Obviously, when you get drunk you do things you later regret. You need to think how to avoid that. There are a wide variety of mental health resources available in community and clinical settings that can help with issues including communication within relationships, substance use, and sexual identity. Good luck!