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Avatar universal

HIV risk level and symptoms


I am a 27 year old heterosexual man in NYC, and I have been having casual sex with a girl over the past few months.  There were a few times (about 5), after nights of drinking where we engaged in unprotected vaginal sex; the last time being three weeks ago.  

This past week I came down with flu like symptoms for two days, and actually went to the doctor.  He said it was a flu and prescribed Tamiflu.  Since that time, I am feeling much better, but I am a little concerned that it could be the early symptoms of HIV for a few reasons.  

First, for the past couple of weeks, even before the flu like symptoms I have been getting a recurring canker sore in the same spot on the bottom of my tongue.  Additionally, I have a rash on my hands that has been there for the past week and a half or so.  It is a cluster of small red bumps that itch on both hands; they are on the side of my hands and wrists, as well as the knuckles and the backs of my fingers.

I asked the girl if she has any STD's or HIV and she said no; but she admitted that she has been sleeping with other men.  I can only assume that some of those encounters were also unprotected.

Can you tell me how concerned I should be?  I know I put myself at risk, but to what degree?  Are the symptoms I described and the timing a greater cause for concern?  I know you say that there is no need to test after every sexual encounter, does that hold true in this case?

Thanks for the help.
3 Responses
300980 tn?1194929400
Welcome back to the Forum.  In preparing to answer your question I happened to look at some of your 14 prior posts over the past few years.  Not only has your partner had other unprotected sexual encounters but so have you.  I will address your question but I would also suggest you work to sort out why your concern is so great?  - your partners or something else.

Your risk is low.  Presuming your partner was not an IV drug user, the risk of an American woman in NYC who is not an IV drug user having HIV is less than 1 in 1000 and each episode of intercourse also carries a risk of infection of only 1 in 1000 exposure even if she was infected.  Your exposure was a low risk exposure.  

As for your symptoms, the world is in the middle of an influenza pandemic and other varieties of non-HIV viral infections also are far, far more common than symptoms due to HIV.  As we have said repeatedly on this forum, for a person to worry about symptoms as a sign of acute HIV infection is really a huge waste of time.  

Bottom line, your risk is low and your symptoms do not change this in any way.   My advice would be for you and your partner to go get tested.  When you each have negative tests at this time, you can stop worrying.  EWH
Avatar universal
Thank you for your reply doctor, and this incident has me a bit more worried as I found out after sleeping with this girl that she has a reputation for sleeping around, and has been with a pretty substantial number of men.  As you point out, I too have had my fair share of unprotected encounters, but this is the one and only girl I have been with unprotected since I last tested negative.

It is a little over eight weeks since I was last with her (and no, she is not an IV drug user), and a little over a month since my last post here.  Since that time, I have continued to get a canker sore, almost weekly on my tongue in the same spot, and have developed a rash on my chest and back.  Also as I mentioned previously, I developed a flu a few weeks after sleeping with her. I know you say that symptoms are never a good indicator, and I do plan to get tested.

However, I have read elsewhere that canker sores, are something that HIV infection brings on.  If possible, can you please share with me if canker sores are an early sign of HIV infection, or is that something that would occur further down the road?

Thanks again!
300980 tn?1194929400
No, canker sores are not an indicator of early infection.  You have nothing to worry about.  Go get tested- you will almost certainly find out that you did not get HIV. Then you can move on.  EWH
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