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Syphilis concern
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Syphilis concern

Dear Doctor,

I exposed myself to a risky sexual encounter with a commercial sex worker 7 months ago in Amsterdam (I was drunk and cannot properly recall if it was only a handjob or also sex). I have been tested for HIV at 11 weeks and 14 weeks, both of which were negative--so I am not worried about this anymore. I was also tested for chlamydia and syphilis 4.5 days after the exposure--negative. My concern is about syphilis--which I assume is an exaggerated concern but I would really appreciate your input.

4 days after I had had sex I had a small wound on my penis (foreskin) that disappeared after 1-2 days by using vaseline (my 4.5 day syphilis test was done while I had the small wound). This does not fit in the typical syphilis symptoms that I have read about on the Internet. I think the foreskin had cracked a bit as it stung a bit when I peed, but disappeared with vaseline after 1 day or so. I have not had any other symptoms except that one of my toes is itching and is a little red (more than 6 months after the exposure)-- I had a similar itch last year, I believe it has to do with wearing polyester socks or similar. Further, my back is also very itchy sometimes but this is probably because my skin is very dry. Other than these two things I do not think I have any symptoms.

Questions:
1) Does any of the above sound like syphilis or any other STD to you?
2) I have had sex with my girlfriend several times (protected vaginal and unprotected oral) since my negative HIV tests and she has not had any problems or symptoms. I was initially only worried about HIV and now I am worrying about this. Do you think I am completely overreacting?
3) Do you think I can let this go and move on with my life?
4) Would you agree that worrying about STDs (except obviously HIV) is silly if one has no symptoms?

I am tired of being worried about this entire episode and wish I could erase it from my mind.

Thank you very much for your answers Doctor!

Kind regards,

Sverige

Related Discussions
1024580_tn?1331577721
Hello,
Thank you very much for your post and welcome to our forum.  Apologies for not having replied sooner, but as you added several posts, it looked as if it had already been answered.
One point about syphilis:  it is very rare among heterosexuals, even though it is on the increase specially among sex workers; it is very contagious and can be trasnmitted not only though penetration but also through oral sex.

Let me answer each of your questions here below:

1) Does any of the above sound like syphilis or any other STD to you?

NO, THEY DO NOT.

2) I have had sex with my girlfriend several times (protected vaginal and unprotected oral) since my negative HIV tests and she has not had any problems or symptoms. I was initially only worried about HIV and now I am worrying about this. Do you think I am completely overreacting?

PROBABLY YES.

3) Do you think I can let this go and move on with my life?

I BELIEVE SO.  HOWEVER THIS IS EASIER SAID THAN DONE AND BECAUSE YOU ARE STILL WORRYING IT MIGHT BE A GOOD IDEA FOR YOU TO GET A SYPHILIS TEST.  I AM SURE THAT WILL BE NEGATIVE.  THAT WAY YOU CAN FORGET ABOUT IT, STOP WORRYING AND MOVE ON.

4) Would you agree that worrying about STDs (except obviously HIV) is silly if one has no symptoms?

IT IS SILLY.  HOWEVER SOME STDs CAN BE SILENT AND NOT GIVE ANY SYMPTOMS.  IT IS MORE IMPORTANT TO CONCENTRATE ON RISKS AND NOT ON SYMPTOMS.  IF THERE HAS BENN A RISK, THIS SHOULD BE ASSESSED AND THE RELEVANT TESTS SHOULD BE TAKEN BECAUSE SYMPTOMS MIGHT BE MILD OR NON-EXISTENT.

Best wishes,

Dr José

5 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi again, forgot to mention that the CSW was a middle-aged thai woman--suppose this makes no difference.
Also when I mentioned that I do not remember whether it was sex or a handjob, I meant to say that I think it was a handjob but I cannot be 100% sure and my mind seems to be playing tricks on me :-)
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Avatar_m_tn
sorry, just read my question again and just want to clarify the start of the second paragraph, the "4 days after I had had sex..." bit--this is related to the same exposure with the CSW and I am assuming I had Sex with her.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hello Doctor,

when will I get a reply to my question? Has it been missed somehow, I posted my initial question 3 days ago? I also see that a person who posted her question after me has had her question answered.

Thank you and awaiting your reply!
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936016_tn?1332769204
Hello

Your post was answered very fully by Dr Jose.

He pointed out that your rapid and additional questioning resulted in your question moving down the list - if you post repeatedly then it appears as spam.

In any event, the response was full and appropriate.

I have nothing further to add here - and we will not be returning to this post. If you genuinely feel you have a further issue that needs addressing then make a new post and be patient - remember that if you spam, you question will disappear.


Sean
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