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Sore Throat & Swollen Glands
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Sore Throat & Swollen Glands

Hi -
I recently did something incredibly stupid.  On a post-breakup trip to Vegas, I had a drunken hookup with someone I don't know. I performed oral sex on him for literally about 5-10 seconds without a condom (not to completion). Things escalated and we started to have sex.  It only lasted about 2-3 minutes before I wised up and got out of there, but he was really rough and I bled quite a bit. He didn't ejaculate inside me, but he didn't use a condom either.  I know...STUPID.

It happened on a Saturday night and by Tuesday morning I started to get a moderately bad sore throat and a mild fever. By Thursday, the lymph nodes on the right side of my neck started to swell and my neck started to get stiff. It's now Friday and my sore throat is still just as bad, my neck is still stiff, & my lymph nodes are still swollen.  My fever is gone, but I'm freaking out about possibly catching something from that guy. I looked online and it says some of my symptoms can be associated with herpes or worse.  So my questions are:
1) Given the incident, am I at significant risk of having caught herpes or another STD?
2) Are my symptoms consistent with any STDs, especially herpes?
3) If herpes is a risk, do my symptoms (sore throat, swollen glands) ever appear before or without sores?
4) Should I get checked out at a hospital?  What tests should I insist on?

Other notes:
- I don't appear to have other symptoms yet. No sores anywhere. No abnormal discharge or bleeding. No pain, nausea, burning, or itching.
- The guy from Vegas had a sore throat too.  

I've never had such a risky sexual encounter before - in fact, that was my first one-night stand ever.  I just feel like a fool for putting myself in that position (drunk!) and being so unsafe.. and now I'm seriously concerned that I've compromised my health. Can someone please answer my questions and let me know how worried I should be?  

Thank you,
Hannah

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Hi Hannah,
1.  Since you had unprotected sex (even if he did not ejaculate), testing is a good idea.  Chances are you did not get herpes and your other symptoms are probably a garden variety virus.  I would recommend testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea - they are often asymptomatic, but need to be treated if you are infected.  Syphilis is less common, but testing is not a bad idea.  Blood tests for HSV can take up to four months to become positive, so you should not test right away.  If you experience any blisters or genital lesions, get them checked out asap so a viral culture can be done.  If you are getting a full STD screen, you could get a rapid HIV test - but from this 2-3 minute encounter, you probably have nothing to worry about.
2.  Not especially.  Fever and sore throat can occur during a primary herpes outbreak, but you would also have blisters/sores.
3.  No.
4.  You could go to your local STD clinic or your gynecologist for testing.  See above for testing recommendations.

No symptoms is a good sign - you probably got a cold/virus from him.  STDs are often asymptomatic though, so yearly screening is important for people who are not in monogomous relationships.

Everybody makes mistakes - learn from this experience, get tested, and move on :)  I understand that anxiety can be very powerful, but don't let it run your life.  Hope this helps!

Best wishes,
Em
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Em -

THANK YOU!  You have no idea how much I've been agonizing over what I did.  The whole incident with that guy took less than 5 minutes, but I've been sick for days... and all I've been able to think about is what if I caught something serious that could change my life forever. I'm calling my gynecologist right now to get checked out and have the tests you recommended. And I'm going to take your advice, learn from this experience, and never, ever, EVER put myself in such a risky situation again.  Thank you for your help.

- Hannah
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