The Condom Broke – Is HIV Testing Needed?

Q: I was wondering if someone needs to be tested for HIV if a condom broke. My best friend told me that the last time she had sex, the condom broke. Now, she is worried that she might have an STD or even HIV. Should she wait to be tested for HIV until a few months have passed? The incident happened about a month ago. Is there even condom broke HIV testing that will detect the virus after such recent exposure? I just want to give her all the information I can to put her mind at ease.

W. Iverston
Kansas City, Missouri

A: There are various ways to test for HIV. With the traditional HIV antibody test your friend needs to wait until it’s been 6-12 weeks after the exposure to get reliable results. At 6 weeks the test is considered reliable, and at 12 weeks it is considered conclusive. If your friend doesn’t want to wait any longer she might consider an HIV DNA PCR test. It is considered conclusive 28 days after exposure.

It is important that your friend check for other STDs as well. She is more likely to contract something like chlamydia or gonorrhea from a broken condom, but it is a good idea to check for all STDs just to be safe. If she has questions or concerns it may be easier for her to call our office and speak with a counselor. We can discuss her risk and help her decide what tests to take and when to test for the best possible results.