HIV - Prevention Expert Forum
Symptoms? HIv from oral sex
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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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Symptoms? HIv from oral sex

Know this gets asks a lot and you list receptive oral sex as low risk.  Only began to explore m2m sex over the past six months.  No anal - but have given unprotected oral to several men all who said they were STD free.  One with ejaculation which I spit out.  
About month ago, I developed a headache that continued several days, one  swollen gland under my left arm, and a sore (Not really a rash) of that arm - raised and hard, later one similar sore on right leg around a hair follicle.  If it was an infection, I may have spread it to my leg by touch - NO scratching, no fever, no sore throat, no gastro problems, no body aches.  I am going to get tested - but wonder what you feel the chances are that these symptoms could be HIV, or something else.  

Naturally anxious and worried!
300980_tn?1194933000
Welcome to our Forum.  You are right, these are questions that we get a lot.  I reviewed your earlier interaction with the folks on the HIV Prevention Community site and my response will build on what you have already heard there (which I agree with).  As already pointed out, HIV acquisition from oral sex is exquisitely rare- so rare that it is virtually unquantifiable and many experts state there is no meaningful risk for HIV from oral sex.  There are a very few cases in which people MAY have gotten HIV by performing fellatio on an infected partner but again these are so rare that the true risk in incalculably small.  In your own case:

1.  You do not know that your partners had HIV.  In fact they said they did not and most people do tell the truth.
2.  Even if someone was infected , the risk is close to, if not zero anyway.
3.  Your symptoms are not worrisome for HIV.  When persons get swollen glands from HIV the glands are swollen all over the body and the swelling is typically accompanied by fever, rash, muscle aches and sore throat.   Even when the entire set of symptoms is present, only a small fraction of persons turn out to have HIV, the majority having plain old, every day community acquired non-STD viral infections.

I won't try to talk you out of testing but I will tell you that the exposures and symptoms you report are not suggestive of HIV and are not a reason to worry.  I am confident that your tests will be negative.  EWH
13 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks for yuor answer -  I can sleep tonight!  Test results should be in tomorrow
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300980_tn?1194933000
Glad I could help.  I'm confident your results will show that you did not get HIV form oral sex.  EWH
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Avatar_m_tn
Got results today - negative as you thought they would be.  Thanks you again - for your service to all on this sight!
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300980_tn?1194933000
Glad I could help.  EWH
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Avatar_m_tn
Sorry to bother you again.  As I mentioned before I had oral sex - never anal without protection.  Developed some symptons - (head ache,  one swollen lymph node under arm, and a few sores - one on the arm two on the leg).  I took a Test 3 weeks after this and was negative for all STDS.  The sores were hard and rasied, almost boil like - the first two cleared up and then four days ago i developed another on the same leg - it is began as a hard raised sore, flattened out and there are some lines radiating out for it.  I went to my doctor, did not tell him about HIV test - he wasn't sure what it was, took blood count which was normal and gave me bactrim which i have been on three days.
Question - since the test was so soon - I am steel fearful.  Node is gone down but still there - and the sores are not something I had.  You oponion and recommendation.  Sorry this is so long
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300980_tn?1194933000
Your fears are almost certainly groundless.  Your symptoms in no way change my assessment or recommendations. EWH
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you for kindly responding -  the sores had me worried never had anything like them before really - along with headache and lymph - You are gracious to reply once again.  Know I am over anxious - which you get a lot of - as well as a bit chastened and guilty.  Thank you agian
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Avatar_m_tn
Doctor, don't want to be  a pest! But one more question.  Your colleague on this sight wrote the following:

"Most people who catch HIV, probably around 80-90%, will have a positive antibody test by 20 days."
"And beyond the timing since exposure is the time since onset of symptoms.  The HIV antibody tests are always positive within 1-2 weeks after onset of symptoms.  There are no exceptions to these generalizations."

As I have said, I took the test 21 days after exposure(Oral only) - and probably two weeks or maybe less after I had some symptoms (head aches, swollen,  skins sores).  Test was negative.  Questions: do you agree with your colleague, about test results in 1-2 weeks after symptoms?  AND do you think I should be retested?

I hope  am not being overly demanding in asking these questions.  Thank you.
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300980_tn?1194933000
Yes, I do agree with Dr. Handsfield.

Re-testing is up to you and your anxieties.  I see not medical need for concern, as I said before.  EWH
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks you again for your kind answers - know how busy you must be and appreciate your responses more than I can say.  Your participation on this sight is an indication of your concern and your integrity as a physician - I will try to move on!
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Avatar_m_tn
At the risk of trying your patience, I understand you saying my risk(Oral sex) was very low - and I do not need to be retested for any medical reason -  The three week negative antibody test, while not conclusive, does provide strong reassurance coupled with the low risk.  
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300980_tn?1194933000
Last answer.  Your risk for HIV is close to, if not, zero.  I would not test further if I were you.

This ends this thread.  EWH
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