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Avatar universal

HIV risk and symptoms

Dear Doctor,
One month ago I did one of those stupid mistakes ... I was in Jakarta and went to a nightclub. I got drunk and ended up in bed with one of the waitresses (a prostitute). I had vaginal sex using a condom but at some point it slipped out. I put another one and finished. For few seconds or maybe 2 or 3 minutes I had unprotected sex.
Now, after 2 week my throat started to itch a little ... at the end of the 2nd week my voice was gone for 3 or 4 days. Then a slight sore throat appeared and higher temperature than usual, but not proper fever I think, plus a stiff neck I still have now. The symptoms weren't too obvious and I think that, being a world champion of healh anxiety, my head has amplified some of them, and possibly prolonged them. Now after four weeks I still don't feel completely well.
I had the girl's email, so I wrote her and asked her if she had HIV. She wrote that she's clean , but at the same time she asked me to tell her the result of my tests.
I'm living a nightmare ...on tuesday I will go to get tested for other STDs, but will have to wait other 2 months for the HIV.
How easy can HIV be transmitted after a single vaginal sex (maybe for one minute)? What about my symptoms?

Thank you very much  

5 Responses
239123 tn?1267651214
Welcome to the HIV forum.  I'll try to help. This isn't (or shouldn't be) the "nightmare" you describe.

First, your symptoms are meaningless.  They don't really suggest HIV, which doesn't cause "a little higher temperature" without fever; it sounds like you caught a cold.  Even if you had classical symptoms of acute HIV infection, it wouldn't mean much; as we have described innumerable times on this forum, even the most classical HIV symptoms usually are due to other conditions, especially in low risk situations like this one.

And that's the second point:  this was a low risk exposure.  That your partner is concerned about YOUR status with respect to HIV tends to confirm that she is quite sure she isn't infected and intends to stay that way.  After all, from a statistical standpoing, commercial sex workers are at greater risk of getting HIV from their customers than the other way around.  And in the extremely unlikely chance she actually has HIV, the average risk of transmission for unprotected vaginal sex (female to male) is around once for every 2,000 exposures.  That's equivalent to daily sex with infected women for 5 years and maybe never catching it.  And that's for completely unprotected sex; given the brevity of your unprotected exposure, your risk would be a whole lot lower.

You should get tested, as you are planning to do, for peace of mind.  (That advice is not code that means I really think there was substantial risk.  I do not.)  You don't need to wait so long for valid testing.  With modern HIV tests, virtually all newly infected people have positive results by 6 weeks.  You can have a single antibody (ELISA) test about 2 weeks from now, with complete reliance on the result -- which will be negative.

Good luck--  HHH, MD
239123 tn?1267651214
This question is in the wrong forum; I wasn't paying attention.  But no harm done.  It will be moved to the HIV Prevention and Safe Sex Forum.
Avatar universal
Thank you very much
Avatar universal
Dear Doctor HHH,

I hope you'll read this comment. I had been tested with the DUO test after 35 days post-exposure and got a negative result. I feel much better now, since this test is considered almost definitive. I'll repeat the antibody test after 3 months for complete peace of mind.

I wanted to thank you for your support and realistic (not uselessly alarmistic) approach to this subject, because in my view, here in the UK at least, institutions tend to scare people in order to limit risky exposures: right, but done the wrong way can terrify people like me (and I think there are many).

Last question: do you suggest a test for Epathitis B? What about a vaccination for Epathitis B? I have already been for other common STDs,

Thanks one and for all


239123 tn?1267651214
Hepatitis B is much too low risk to warrant testing on account of this exposure.  When transmitted sexually, it entirely by unprotected vaginal or anal intercourse.  Although an STD in many ways, most STD clinics never test for it except in men who have sex with men and injection drug users; it's too rare in everyone else to make it worthwhile.

That said, it's a good idea for everyone -- regardless of sexual activity risks -- to be immunized against hepatitis B.  On that ground, you should do it.
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