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Avatar universal

Three months and running

Hi there,

On March 13th I performed unprotected oral sex on another man.  I don't know this guy and I don't know if he is HIV positive or not.  He did not ejaculate in my mouth: his penis was in my mouth for about 20 seconds and then I took him out of my mouth and I used my hand on him to make him climax.  After I went home and brushed my teeth and I noticed that my gum was bleeding from having flossed hard that morning.  It then occurred to me that I may be at risk for HIV infection since the guy may have pre-ejaculated and my gum may have been bleeding at the time I put his penis in my mouth.  

Since March 13th, I've had four ELISA HIV tests all of which have been Non-reactive.  I tested on June 30th (two weeks after the three month mark) and I tested again on August 4th (20.5 weeks after the possible exposure).  My doctor is certain that the 6 month mark is the necessary window period and she has told me that I have to test again after September 13th in order for my test results to be truly conclusive.  However, I spoke with an HIV specialist this week who pointed out that HIV testing standards have recently changed and that three months is, without doubt, conclusive.  I'm not sure who to believe since I've had fatigue, swollen lymph nodes in my throat and neck, and diarrhea off and on since March 13th.  I'll be very grateful to hear what you advise about my situation.
11 Responses
Avatar universal
I believe six months was the old standard.  Currently three months is the magic number.  The experts on here always say three months too.

If you are negative at the three month mark you have a very high % of the test being conclusive.  Obviously the anxiety with this is very high, so if you feel a six month test would seal the deal for you and allow you to move on then test again at six months, but expect the same negative result.

With your symptoms:  I know a lot of people with swollen lymph nodes who have diarrhea but do not have HIV.  The symptoms of this seem to keep bringing back the anxiety of it all.  These symptoms are pretty standard for a million different things, many of which are not serious.  

I'm pretty certain you are completely fine.    
Avatar universal

YOU never had a exposure and don't need testing -
Avatar universal
You were never at risk of contracting HIV from oral sex.
Avatar universal
Sory i jump here. But when you say that Ars fever is over 101F,do you think its measure undrer arm or oral?
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Avatar universal
My fever is 100F,could it be ARS
Avatar universal
Hi Goodyear50000,

Yes I think your right that 6 months was the old standard.  I live in British Columbia and in June 2010 the BC Centre of Disease Control came out with revised HIV testing guidelines, which are posted on their website.  These guidelines state that improvements made with HIV tests has reduced the window period and they estimate that "greater than 99 percent" of people who are infected will test positive at the 3 month mark:


The BC Medical Journal has just published these revised guidelines in their July/August edition, which can be read online:


If the BC Centre for Disease Control and the BC Medical Journal are behind these guidelines, then I suppose I should be too...its a struggle to stay calm though whenever anything weird happens with my health.  Many of my symptoms can be easily attributed to anxiety...but I don't know what to think about the swollen lymph nodes (neither, it turns out, do the three doctors I've seen).

Oral sex definitely carries a risk for HIV transmission - it isn't as high as it is with anal or vaginal sex, but it is possible.

Avatar universal
There is no debate (among experts) about the HIV risks associated with oral sex.  The risk is so low that almost nobody who cares for HIV infected patients has ever had a patient believed to have been infected that way.  Among experts, it's a semantic issue about using terms like "no risk" and "very low risk".  There is no difference between my or Dr. Hook's use of "low risk" and other experts' "no risk".

"And oral sex is basically safe sex -- completely safe with respect to HIV and although not zero risk for other STDs, the chance of infection is far lower than for unprotected vaginal or anal sex.  Please educate yourself about the real risks.  If you stick with oral sex and condom-protected vaginal or anal sex, you have no HIV worries and very little worry about other STDs. "   DR HANSFIELD
"I am sure you can find lots of people who belive that HIV is transmitted by oral sex, but you will not find scientific data to support this unrealistic concern..."   DR HOOK

"HIV is not spread by touching, masturbation, oral sex or condom protected sex."- DR. HOOK

in the public HIV Prevention forum of MedHelp, TEAK and the other moderators maintain that oral sex in all forms is a zero risk activity. Would you agree with this assessment?  

"The observation on thousand and thousand of observations is that HIV is not spread by oral sex (of any sort)."  DR HOOK
Avatar universal
Thanks Teak for posting those quotes.  I hope they're right.
Avatar universal
I would agree and say many of your symptoms could be stress related.  You may be also finding symptoms because you are looking for them even harder now.

I also believe that the symptoms (swollen nodes) only last a short period of time of being infected.  

Teak knows his stuff and what he says is right on.  

Although not needed, I actually took two tests after the three month mark.  The way I looked at it is if each test carries a 99.5% accuracy rate I figured two tests with the same results would make the % so small that I could stop the worrying.  (Only because I was stressing like a nut!) lol

One test at three months or more is what you need though.

Good luck!
Avatar universal
Thanks Goodyear50000,

Yes, that's very true that I could be aware of symptoms simply because I'm hyper-anxious and am actively looking for them.  I remember in the past (before my HIV fears began) having felt a swollen lymph node behind my ear and mistaking it for some kind of bone.  In the past, whenever this occurred (as it randomly did from time to time) it never worried me at all.  This same lymph node is currently swollen and has been for the past two weeks and in the context of my being uncertain about if I'm out of the conclusive testing time-frame or not these symptoms take on a much-heightened significance.

When did you take your two tests after your 3-month test?
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