Originally Posted by Kart
Note though that you can still be HIV positive but test negative for up to six months after you become infected.
Not to be argumentative (only conversive), but this is a popular misconception. The standard test for HIV exposure is still the western blot test which measures the presence of an anti-body developed as a result of exposure. One of the keys to creating a vaccine is to be able to isolate the virus itself, and since every single person on this planet living with HIV has their own individual version or mutation of the virus, testing for the presence of any specific anti-body is still not conclusive, and yes, there are people walking around with HIV who will test negative for years, and possibly never test positive at all. All the more reason to be careful and use protection. It does increase anyone's potential exposure when they expose themselves to multiple partners. The obvious conclusion to this is that yes, it is possible to spread the virus without the "host donor" actually testing positive, and there is no scientific way to isolate the incubation period of a retro (constantly changing or mutating) virus. Statistics are still founded and based on those that have tested positive for the presence of the anti-body, and to an even larger extent, on those who have actually developed full-blown AIDS and have suffered the debilitating and ravaging physical effects of the chemotherapy to treat the progression of the infection.
If you've never seen the HBO special "Wit" starring Emma Thompson, I highly recommend it for one classic line alone:
"I'm being isolated not for my cancer, but for the effects on my body from my treatment of the cancer."
I used to live in San Francisco back in the 80s, and did some volunteer work for a fledgeling group called SHANTI PROJECT. It was a learning experience, to say the least, and the treatments and knowledge about the virus have increased incredibly since the 80s, when people were dying in the streets. I have very few friends from my time in San Francisco in the 80s who are still alive.
P.S.- Kart- this wasn't meant for you personally. I just hoped there would be a little more lively conversation on this very important and serious subject, and was glad you opened the door a little. Thanks!