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HIV Scare in Houston

To Forum Doctor,

I am writing to get advice on potential HIV exposure that I may have had.   I am in my first year of college in Houston, Texas.  And I feel that I have done something which may cost me my life.  I can
25 Responses
239123 tn?1267651214
Well, by the time I got to your question, you had an earful of pretty accurate assessments and reommendations from several forum users.

You are focusing on mere coincidence.  First, your symptoms don't sound particularly like ARS, regardless of what you have read.  For example, nobody with ARS gets a runny/stuffy nose.  You got a cold or allergy, nothing more.  Two events that happen near each other in time aren't necessarily causally related.

Second, your sexual exposure was safe.  Even if the woman you had sex with was HIV positive and you didn't use a condom, your risk of getting HIV probalbly is around 1 in 1000.  And the odds probably are 100 to one she didn't have HIV (in most commercial sex workers in the US, around 1% are infected).  And you did use a condom, which is virtually 100% protective when properly used and it doesn't break.

Specific replies to your questions:

1) Does this sound like ARS?  No.  Your doctor was right.

2) You didn't need the PCR test; I would have recommended against it.  In fact, I would have recommended against any HIV test at all, including the standard antibody test, except for the fact that you'd be a basket case without having the lab test confirmation--in other words, I would have tested you only for your peace of mind, not because I suspected you were infected.  Nevertheless, the negative PCR result provides further reassurance you don't have HIV.

3) I'm not terribly familiar with the quantitative PCR test.  In fact, I have never ordered one on a patient.  But I believe your doctor is right.

4) No; see above.

5) If you will sleep better having even more negative test results, feel free to test yourself as much as you want.  The official recommendation from most experts is to have a test at 3 months; but in fact virtually all infected persons are positive by 6 weeks, with modern tests.  (We're talking here about the standard antibody test, not PCR.)

Definitely do not go surfing the web for more information. You will find much more information that alarms rather than reassures you.  This really is not worth losing any sleep over.  You're fine.

Good luck--  HHH, MD
97676 tn?1340408973
You have nothing to worry about.  Using a condom protects against HIV transmission making the possibility of you having HIV ZERO, non existent!  If I were you, I would do some reading in this forum to help ease your mind and anxiety.  You will find that the doctor has answered several questions similar to yours.  

You may be showing symptoms of a cold, allergies, or even anxiety, but its not ARS.  HHH MD will better clerify this for you, but you are ok.  People always assume that sickness or illness after a sexual encounter is a sign of something bad.  Anxiety tends to highlight symptoms that one may experience throughout their lifetime, such as a slight muscle ache, or a commom cold, making them think they aquired an STD. Quit worrying.  I doubt HHH MD will even suggest another HIV test.

Stay in school and stay away from those massage parlors.  There's plenty of fine ladies in college, just keep up the good practice of using condoms.
Avatar universal
Just to clarify about my ARS symptoms:  The symtpoms in the groin that I experienced exactly TWO days after the massage parlor rendevouz was ONE lump in the groin area (most likely a lmyph node).  

Thank you,

Avatar universal
Hello Collegeboy.

I know the panic that you are going through, but try to calm down. You are scared and upset and you are not thinking rationally.

1) You used a condom.
2) 1 episode of vaginal sex UNPROTECTED is low risk.
3) 1 episode of vaginal sex PROTECTED is off the radar.
4) Sex worker = someone that knows how to protect themselves.

I bet she wouldn't have had unprotected with you. She probably worries about becoming infected from a client just like you worry about becoming infected from her.

I know how you feel. Two years ago I also went to a massage parlor and received unprotected oral.

I freaked. I convinced myself that I had every STD and HIV and that I was going to die and infect my wife. Guilt will make you crazy. After a year of torment 5 HIV tests and three doctor visits and 3 STD screens I found out that I was okay.

I didn't contract anything from the encounter!  I wasted a year of my life worrying about nothing. I wasn't paying attention and had an accident and broke 4 bones, had what my doctor called tension headaches, and then broke out in Shingles on the upper part of my body. (My Dr. said stress caused them).

Not to mention I almost lost my job due to lack of concentration.

Please don't let that happen to you. You are safe.

I vowed never to go back to a place like that again. I haven't  since then and never will. The stress is not worth 10 minutes of pleasure!

Good luck to you my friend. I hope you feel better soon!
Avatar universal
Thanks, I'm sort of still freaking out.

I keep reading all this language about condoms being "very effective," and whatnot.  Geex, what the hec is "very effective?"  We are talking about an incurable disease (HIV), not something that you can take 10-day course of antibiotics.  

I'll stay in school, but seriously, all joking aside, now that I'm HIV positive, who cares about girls in college.  I sealed my fate by going to the massage parlor, and now I'll be paying for it for the rest of my life.

I'm not writing anymore.  This is way too upsetting for me.


97676 tn?1340408973
College boy, many of us are going through the same thing you are.  Many of us are in a more serious situation than you.  You have nothing to worry about.  Try to relax.  Wait for the Docs response.  Dr. HHH MD is one of the best docs on the net, if not in the world.  You will surely be able to rely on his words.
Avatar universal
So, if I had a "true risk," people here would tell me.  Maybe my primary doctor was right when she told me to "forget about all this."
Avatar universal
Also CB - if you want information on PCR Testing search the thread under "PCR Testing". I aksed a pretty detailed question to HHH which he answered which should reasure you. Also there is a thread below by me which is entitled "Is test reliable" on 9/1/05 which also addresses some questions about PCR DNA testing.
Avatar universal
So, I can ignore all this ONE lump in my groin business that started 2 days after the incident, went away, and came back a week later??

I never thought that my first experience would be so anxiety provoking.  I really felt like dropping out of college from all of this horrible anxiety and experience.

Thank you,

Avatar universal

Your risk was very low - I would say nonexistent! Relax mate! If your PCR test at 10 days comes back undetected (and it will!) just forget about it - enjoy life and college and be comfortable with the fact that you do not have HIV. Extreme anxiety maybe - but not HIV. I went through a similar experience you can read the threads below except a bit more high risk) and I was in a nervous wreck. Found out my 13 day PCR test was undetected and my anxiety level has decreased about 100,000 times from what it was. Although PCR for HIV DNA is not definitive till 28 days, an undetected result at 10 days is extremely reasurring. Don't waste anymore money on PCR tests - they are horribly expensive (trust me I know) - if the 10 day test comes out negative you are OK and just wait till 6 weeks to have an antibody to confirm (but that will be negative also). Take care mate!
Avatar universal
The lump in your groin means nothing. Ignore it or see a doc about your general health, but forget about HIV.

At your age you have more to worry about from being shot in the head by all the people in Texas who own guns. Put it in perspective.

There are people in the world who face real and present HIV risk -- people who had unprotected sex repeatedly, people who shot up on heroin, people who had blood transfusions, kids born to people who had HIV. You are not one of those people. Last year, over 40,000 such people got infected with HIV in the United States, most of them poor, many with no health insurance. They need help. Why not take all this nervous energy and volunteer for an AIDs hospice or an outreach program? Raise funds for Gay Men's Health Crisis or a local AIDs council. If you're in college there are tons of such agencies on campus.

Help deliver laundry for someone on AIDs, write a letter to Kay Bailey Hutchinson urging her to introduce new spending on AIDs research in the Senate, distribute condoms outside a gay club, or assist in a free needle exchange. Volunteer work will put you in contact with people much more at risk than you, & teach you the real statistics about this disease.

Avatar universal
Those are excellent suggestions!!
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