HIV - Prevention Expert Forum
HIV Risk? (For a Woman)
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This forum is limited to prevention of HIV and to safe sex in general. All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

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HIV Risk? (For a Woman)

I know similar questions have been asked, but I can't find many by women. Here is the situation: Last Wednesday night (a week ago) I engaged in sexual activity with a man of unknown status.  I know that he has been with a lot of women.  According to him, a couple different ones each month.  I know it was very stupid of me, I regret it terribly and am having extreme anxiety over it.  I need to know my HIV risk from: 1. I used my tongue only on the shaft of his penis, but I probably got some precum in my mouth; 2. I performed manual sex on him, he came in my hands (a little on my chest) - I later realized I had a small day-old cut on that hand - that I'm positive came into contact with semen; 3. He fingered me and might have had precum on his hand; 4. Does semen coming into contact with a woman's nipples pose any risk?

Wednesday: The above incident. Friday night: Started to feel the beginnings of a sore throat. Saturday: Mild sore throat, hurt when I swallowed. Tested negative for strep. They said it was probably viral. No fever. (Can they see anything else from throat swabs? Signs of HIV or STD's?) Sunday: Sore throat turned mostly just to irritated throat. Monday: Throat only slightly irritated, developed dry cough and a runny nose. Tuesday: Runny nose, and began coughing up yellow mucus. Maybe slight fever. Hot and sweaty and brief feelings of slight nausea throughout the day. Ears felt slightly clogged. Wednesday (today): Still coughing up a little mucus, still some clear discharge from my nose, felt slightly dizzy earlier, throat gets slightly irritated from cough.

I've read that ARS doesn't begin until after 2-4 weeks.  Why is that?  If you are exposed to a virus couldn't you start having symptoms at any time? Would you recommend I get tested for HIV or other STD's?  What if I start having more flu-like symptoms?

Yesterday I asked the guy if we could talk. He said no. I'm paranoid he knows he has something and doesn't want to tell me. (Or he's just a jerk.)
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Welcome to the Forum.. I'll be pleased to try to help.

None of the activities you mention place you at any risk for HIV.  There is no risk from simply licking a partner's genitals, from masturbation of any sort, even when you get your partner's genital secretions on you or from contact of his genital secretions with your breasts.  This is true even if some of the secretions contacted the cut on your hand.  

As for your symptoms, as you already know, they began far too soon to represent the ARS.  The ARS occurs during the time that antibodies to the virus are just beginning to be formed.  The antibodies react with the virus and it is these virus-antibody complexes that are the origins of ARS symptoms.  

It certainly does sound like your partner is a jerk but he did not put you at risk for HIV.  There is no need for concern and no need for testing.

I hope this is helpful to you.  EWH
13 Comments
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Thank you so much for your response.

I know that licking genitals wouldn't pose a risk if there were no secretions, but even if I did get precum in my mouth, there is not a risk? I have a habit of biting the insides of my cheeks, so there might have been minor lacerations (I don't know if that's the right word) in my mouth.

Just from reading on this site, I am very surprised to learn how low risk oral is. It seems contrary to what I've been warned about via sex education thus far.

And as far as women's nipples - they can secrete fluid (breast milk) that can transmit HIV, but in cannot work the other way around?

You might not be able to answer this - but does it sound to you like I just have some kind of common virus turned sinus infection? Because that's what I'm thinking.

Thank you so much for your time.
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You are repeating your questions.

Even with his secretions in your mouth, swallowed or not, no risk.  Having bitten your cheek or dental disease does not change this- still no risk.  

As I said, no risk from secretions entering your breasts.  And if you heard that adults can get HIV from ingesting breast milk, that's categorically wrong as well.  

Statistically your sore throat is most likely due to the sort of non-STD community acquired virus that most people get from time to time.  EWH
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Thank you, sorry to repeat questions.

Would you suggest testing for other STD's? (Gonorrhea, Syphilis)
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No, I see no need for STD testing of any sort- the guy souns like a jerk but nothing you did put you at risk for any STD.  EWH
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Thank you so much for your responses so far, and thank you for what you do on this site. I'm sorry if I'm asking too many questions, but I just have two more quick things:

1. I had some pain in one of my eyes today, and this concerns me because I've read that one of the STD's (I don't remember which one) can affect your eyes. Do you think this is something to be concerned about?

2. It's not that I don't take your word that I'm not at risk - but would you mind just briefly explaining some of the science behind why ingesting precum in this situation wouldn't lead to an STD of the throat? Just so I understand it better. I think it would help to put my mind more at ease.

Again, I'm sorry, I hope I'm not going to be one of those people you tell not to comment anymore. I am just very anxious.
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Also, I have found comfort in what you've explained to me so far, and I appreciate it.
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300980_tn?1194933000
Straight to your questions:

1.  The list of possible symptoms due to STDs is huge in order to be inclusive but your circumstance does not raise any concern that your eye discomfort is STD related.

2.  The mouth and GI tract is a hostile environment which acts to protect us from ingestion of bacteria and external pathogens.  In addition to its on surface it contains many enzymes, antobidies and substances toxic to invading micro organisms.   If material is swallowed, stomach acid likewise kills microbes almost immediately

Please don't worry.  EWH
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Thank you so much for your response.
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I've been trying not to worry as much, but today I've been having a somewhat sharp pain in my right groin (I'm assuming the lymph nodes there) that's been on and off throughout the day.  Could this be related to ARS?  I've also read that it could be related to Syphilis.  Or could it perhaps be related to this common seasonal virus/infection I seem to have?
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Final Response.

There are many possible causes of your groin pain, swollen lymph nodes only being one of them.  The starting point of evaluating your pain should be evaluating where that pain is coming from.  To do this you should have a health care professional take a look.  If you do have swollen lymph nodes, they could well be due to a non-specific viral infection.

Syphilis is a rare infection which is spread through direct contact with sores and lesions to the site of contact.  You would have known if he had sores or lesions and the exposures you describe do not explain either your eye pain or your groin pain.

I worry that you are having trouble getting past this exposure and find yourself both looking harder for possible problems and then attibuting most any and everything you note to it.  This is not good for you.  Its been long enought that if you had gotten a common STD tests would be positive.  While there is no medical reason to do so, perhaps testing would help.  Whether it would or not however, I recommend you talk this through with someone.  EWH
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Thank you for your responses. I am currently seeing a counselor and taking to them about this.  If you could please, please answer just one more physical health related question, I would really, really, appreciate it. When I was with the guy I noticed his crotch area had a certain odor - I wouldn't call it bad or concerning, I just assumed it was sweat.  I am now smelling that same odor on myself when I pull down my pants.  It could just be urine/sweat, and I wasn't paying attention before but am now just hyper-aware of everything.  But it is the same smell he had.  Can you please just tell me if this could be HIV-related? Then no more questions. I'm sorry, and thank you.
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There is no abnormal odor, genital or otherwise associated with HIV.  The most common cause of abnormal genital odor in women is bacterial vaginitis, which is not,an STD.  See you doctor if you are concerned.

End of thread.  EWH
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