|Scared of Transmitting and Having HIV
Jul 30, 2002
I realize these questions may be better suited for another forum but I truly value your insight.
I ordered a home HIV test and will take it when it arrives (approx. 32 days after incident). I know it will not be conclusive till 3 months but I need piece of mind now. The reason I am writing is that I want to know if my risk is substantial because I recently began a relationship with a female and I don't want to jeopardize her health. Until my tests are conclusive, would it be wrong/dangerous for me to kiss and only have protected sex with her? It would be tough to not do those things for 3 months and have the girl understand, as it is early in the relationship, but if I am of a very high risk for HIV I will end the relationship for her own good. Here is my situation:
I had unprotected receptive oral sex with a male partner who is in a high risk demographic (urban area, african american, gay male, middle aged, obviously promiscuous). I too am a male. This was my only homosexual encounter (and my only risky encounter, unfortunatley it only takes 1). He did not ejaculate in my mouth. I have no idea if there was pre cum or not and the oral sex lasted for approximately 5 minutes. I was very drunk at the time so the details are pretty hazy, but I spit a lot afterwards and there was no blood. I realized the risk I had put myself in and probably compounded it with my next move of trying to make myself throw up, I could not. When I was clearing my throat there was blood in my spit. I used mouthwash extensively and even intentionally swallowed some but I cannot remember if it was before or after the blood. There are no cuts in my mouth and I have good oral hygiene.
I was convinced that I had HIV the next morning and went out that night and got really drunk (nobody teaches you what to do after you've made the mistake), the next night I stayed up late but did not drink. The third day I felt nauseous, could not eat, my throat hurt, and I felt tired. I went to a doctor that day (who was not very good but took me on short notice) and he said my blood test showed that I did not have the flu, but he did not do a throat culture. I felt sick for the 2 weeks immediately following the incident, could not eat and did not drink much, felt tired and generally terrible, woke up covered in sweat one night, and during that time my tongue turned white and had 3 grooves in it (they may have always been there, not sure). At the end of the second week I had puss covering my throat, I could barely swallow, and one gland in my neck was very inflamed. I went to the clinic and they tested my throat for strep and gonorrhea, both negative. I also tested negative for all other STDs, no HIV test, too early. The chlamydia test is not fun by the way. The doctor said it was not thrush in my mouth but did not test for that, just observed. She said it looked like a bacterial infection and prescribed penicillin. After the 10 days of medication my throat cleared, my tongue is mostly clear (a little white in the back) but my one gland seems a little swollen still (it was swollen for 3 weeks, 1 week prior to getting medication and the 2 weeks during the medication). I never seemed to have a fever during all this (except possibly the night I woke up sweaty). And I am now noticing what looks like small broken capillaries or varicose veins on my upper arms and legs (4 weeks after the incident, no idea if it was like that previously) and I have a slight change in skin texture and color (a little dry and red but no raised bumps or anything) on a small area of my upper chest.
This sounds like ARS, doesn't it? I know that's a tough question. Could a "bacterial infection" have caused the swollen gland (the puss was on the same side as the gland) and all the other symptoms, or would it have to be viral? Is one swollen gland indicative of ARS or would there be multiple? Could I have gotten a bacterial infection from the incident without there being pre cum, and without contracting HIV? Would thrush (if that's what it really was) be cured by penicillin?
Many lessons have been learned throughout this experience and I obviously wish I had used better judgment. Life is much more complicated when you make mistakes and I have a feeling that this mistake is going to make my life very complicated. Additionally, I realize that my behavior indicates an underlying alcohol problem and I am taking active steps to resolve this.
Sorry so long, thanks for any insight. I'm really scared right now and I would hate to put someone else though what I have been going through, physically and emotionally. This is all almost surreal, but I realize that it is very very real.
Response from Dr. Frascino
Your risk is unprotected oral sex without ejaculation with a partner of unknown serostatus. The risk of contracting HIV from this type of behavior is relatively low, but not completely non-existent. Your subsequent symptoms do not sound like ARS, but rather a bacterial infection that appeared to respond nicely to the antibiotics. No, penicillin would not help a viral or fungal infection. The swollen gland was most likely related to the bacterial throat infection. Lymph node swelling with ARS is most often generalized rather than localized to one gland.
Finally, would you be "wrong/dangerous" to kiss and have protected sex with your new partner? Absolutely not! Kissing and protected sex are considered quite safe. Besides, the odds of your being HIV-negative are really very much in your favor. Go ahead and take the HIV test at 3 months to set your mind at ease. I believe it will be negative. I don't think HIV will be making your life very complicated, but certainly excess alcohol could, so I'm glad you are getting help with that problem.
Good luck with your 3-month test and with your new romance!
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