Q. Would herpes infection affect the window period of HIV 1 and 2?

Answered by
Dr. Rufiat Kazi
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Sep 21, 2018

Hello doctor,

I have a question regarding co-infection of HIV with various other diseases like syphilis, herpes 1, herpes 2, gonorrhea, hepatitis C, hepatitis B, chlamydia, CMV, HPV, and molluscum contagiosum. Some time ago, I had a paid unprotected oral sex encounter but vaginal sex was mostly protected. I say mostly protected because the condom was very loose due to my erectile dysfunction. I received oral sex from her without any protection. Please take into account that prior to this episode I have been experiencing chronic penile sores and burning in urethra supposedly due to my established herpes infection (earlier tested positive for both herpes 1 and 2). I also have a weak immune system because I suffered from malnutrition while growing up.

I have four questions that I want to ask. Would my herpes infection affect the window period for HIV 1 and 2? Would the window period for any of these aforementioned diseases be affected in case of pre-existing or simultaneous co-infection with another STI? Also, would my herpes infection increase the likelihood of getting infected with HIV or any other STI? Lastly, please advise when should I get tested for all these STIs in order to have conclusive results.

Dr. Rufiat Kazi

Community Medicine Family Physician


Welcome to icliniq.com.

No, herpes does not affect the window period for HIV 1 and 2. Yes, it could be if the immune system is compromised. The term window period is used mainly with reference to HIV. Herpes infection per se does not increase the chances of an STI. But the mode of transmission of herpes is similar to the mode of transmission of other STI diseases. So the risk of exposure to all STIs is the same.

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