HIV - Prevention Expert Forum
Odds Against Me
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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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Odds Against Me

I am scared and need some guidance please.  I met a guy several weeks ago.  We kissed a lot (he told me he dipped which I know can cause bleeding gums), he performed oral sex on me for about 2 minutes and then I did something I have never done...I put a condom on and had anal sex with him. It lasted about a minute before I ejaculated.  The condom stayed in tack I think because the next day I looked at it and it still had my semen in it. It had a few dried blood droplets on it as well.  He told me when we met he was HIV Negative.  I thought I had been pretty safe but afterwards felt nervous and emailed him to ask him to get tested.  He did and sent me an image of the negative results.  I was tested at 4 weeks using the Oraquick rapid fingerprick.  It was negative.  He told me that he had had sex with another guy about 4 weeks before we were together so I asked him to go get tested again at 8 weeks after his last encounter.  He went and had the Oraquick oral swap done and it was negative.  I then went and got tested again using the fingerprick at 6 weeks and it was negative.  When he got the oral swap they also did a regular blood test.  He just called me today and told he it was POSITIVE!  I am now freaking out and fear that I am too infected.  I have not had a fever over these past 6 weeks but did have a rash on my left hand.  I just cant believe this is happening and do not know what to do.  What should I do now?  What are my chances of being infected?  If I am infected, what is the average lifespan of someone who is HIV pos?  Please help.
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Welcome to the forum.  Thanks for your question.

I know this can seem alarming -- having had sex with a partner you now know has HIV.  However, you really are not at risk.  You ask "Odds against me?"  No, they are not.  The odds are very much in favor of you not having HIV.

First, the timing of your partner's test results suggests he was infected after your encounter with him.  Second, even if he had HIV at the time of your sex with him, you had entirely safe sex.  Condoms work, and oral sex is very low risk for HIV transmission -- many experts believe it to be truly zero risk.  Third, your symptoms are not at all suggestive of a new HIV infection. The rash of new HIV is body wide, never involving a limited area like a hand; and the rash is always accompanied by fever.  In addition, your symptoms are too late:  new HIV symptoms always start within a couple weeks of exposure.

My advice is that you have an HIV test.  Enough time has passed for definitive results.  Despite offical advice for testing at 3 months, 4-8 weeks almost always is sufficient.  This advice does not mean I really believe there is some risk here.  I do not.  I suggest testing only because the negative result will probably be more reassuring than anything I can say.

If you are tested, feel free to return with a follow-up comments to let me know the result.  In the meantime, stay relaxed.  There is no chance you caught HIV from the exposure you are concerned about.

Best regards--  HHH, MD
10 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you sir. Your words are very reassuring. I wish that this would have happeneed after he met me but he swears to me that his exposure occurred on Jan 20 which was 3  weeks before we met and almost 4 weeks before his negative lab EIA test.  He tested negative using the oral swab on Mar 19 but that same day took another EiA lab test which was positive. I will go get tested on Monday which will be almost 9 weeks since we met. I am praying it is negative.
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239123_tn?1267651214
Perhaps I misunderstood the timing of the exposure and your partner's test results.  However, this information doesn't change my overall opinion or advice.  I would point out that the timing is consistent with the possibility you already had HIV and are the source of his infection.  But that's already been ruled out by your negative test at 4 weeks.  So I remain confident your follow-up HIV tests will remain negative.
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Avatar_m_tn
Last post before I post my results but would like to clear up the timeline.  I apologize for the confusion and would appreciate one more response from you.

Jan 20 - he has sex with someone he doesnt know.  This is the source of his infection at least what I think
Feb 5 - we meet and have sex described above
Feb 14 - he gets an EIA lab test that is negative
March 5 - I take a rapid Oraquick fingerstick test and it's negative (4 weeks)
March 19 - he takes rapid Oral test and it is negative
March 21 - I take another Oraquick rapid fingerstick its negative (6 weeks)
March 21 - he takes an EIA lab test and it comes back positive
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239123_tn?1267651214
This is quite peculiar.  If your partner acquired HIV Jan 20, I would have expected either or both his tests on Feb 14 (3.5 weeks) and Mar 19 (8 weeks) to be positive.  In both cases, it was somewhat early -- but 80-90% of people with new infections have positive rapid blood tests by 3.5 weeks, and at least 90-95% have positive rapid oral fluids tests by 8 weeks.  So now I'm now wondering whether your partner's most recent EIA is falsely positive.  Has that result been confirmed by Western blot?  If not, I recommend sitting tight until the WB has been done.

Even if your partner turns out to have HIV, you still had safe sex, with little or no risk you were infected.  So even if his WB returns positive, I remain confident your negative test results are valid and any repeat testing will continue to be negative -- and that you don't have HIV.
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Avatar_m_tn
Dr HHH

I received my EIA blood test results today and thankfully they were negative.  It was exactly 9 weeks since the event.  Should I now wait another 3 or 4 weeks and test again to get to the 3 month mark?  Thank you so much for your help and for your support.  You really helped me through this and I appreciate it very much!!
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Avatar_m_tn
that's a good news i'm following your results

Good day
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239123_tn?1267651214
I'm glad to hear the good news.  Testing again at 3 months is optional.  That's the official timing according to the test manufacturers and most public health agencies, but testing at 6-8 weeks in fact is generally sufficient.  See this thread:  http://www.medhelp.org/posts/show/1704700

Did you learn whether your partner really was confirmed positive, or did he have a false positive result?  If so, you definitely don't need any more testing.
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Avatar_m_tn
He will not respond anymore so I just am left to assume that it was not a false negative.  If I do not test anymore would you say my chances are 95% or so that I am OK?   I want to know for sure so I guess the only way to know is to test again at the 3 month or 12 week mark.  I just hate the waiting game.  Thanks so much again.
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239123_tn?1267651214
It is already 100% certain you didn't catch HIV.  You don't need any additional testing at 3 months or any ohter time, except perhaps for its additional reassurance value.  
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