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Concerned About HIV Exposure - Please Help!
Aug 6, 2010

Dear Dr. Frascino,

I am writing to because I am terrified and need someone to talk to. Last week, I slept with a prostitute in Mexico. I was really drunk and did not think about the risks of such a thing. When we arrived at my hotel, she performed oral sex on me without protection. I then put on a condom and penetrated her for a few minutes without ejaculating, until she pulled off the condom and performed oral sex again. The condom was on the bed, sitting for a few minutes. I then grabbed the previously used condom and put it back on, but was not sure if it was on backwards (the opposite way that it should have been). After penetrating her a few more minutes, it was uncomfortable, so I obtained a fresh condom and penetrated her a few more minutes until I ejaculated. It was then that she apologized for not being very lubricated as she was menstruating. This freaked me out!

The next day, I began to experience a sore throat and swollen lymphnodes when I woke up. No fever, though. A night or two later, I began experiencing drenching cold sweats.

5 days after the initial incident, when I arrived back in the US, the sore throat had stopped and the lympnodes seemed to be normal, but I began having diarrhea and feeling a burning sensation when urinating. That night, I also experienced hot flashes and cold sweats especially around my legs.

The next day up to today, days 6-10 after the incident, I started having joint pains. In addition, I have been feeling a very painful burning sensation around both of my legs, from the feet up to my thighs. I cannot tell if it is a bruise, but I also have a very faint reddish/purple rash-like area around my right knee, which appeared maybe 2 days ago (8 days after the incident). The diarrhea is gone (only had it day 5 and 6) and I still do not have a temperature (never have).

Dr, I still feel something is wrong with me. I went to the clinic only 6 days after the incident and found no HIV on the rapid test. I knew it was too soon for antibodies, but I just needed to know. The Dr. at the clinic did not think I could have had symptoms so soon, but did not reassure me either.

I went to the hospital ER the next day and got lab work done. They said all my organs and levels were fine, as if nothing was wrong with me. They said I must have caught a bug and am overreacting.

I just have a few questions, Dr. What do you think of my story? Do you think I might have potentially been exposed to HIV through the prostitute if the condom I had used was flipped inside out? Even if it was exposed to the air for a few minutes? Could the dry blood have allowed the HIV to travel through my urethra?

Also, my symptoms...the sore throat after less than a few hours...the chills a day or two later...the diarrhea...now the burning sensations on my feet...are those too early for HIV infection? I keep reading conflicting things that say you do not see symptoms until well after 2 weeks after exposure. Are mine just the cause of some other viral infection? Please doctor, I need to know. I have not been able to sleep easily for the last 4 nights...I am so scared.

I will never do such a dangerous thing again, Doctor, I promise you and the world. Thank you so much in advance. Please also tell me how I can donate to this amazing site.

-TC

Response from Dr. Frascino

This forum is dedicated to HIV-positive folks, particularly those who have concerns related to fatigue and/or anemia. Questions related to HIV transmission, prevention, safer sex, HIV testing and risk should be sent to Dr. Bob at his "Safe Sex and HIV Prevention" expert forum. Please resubmit your question there using the same title and add the phrase, "resubmitted form the Fatigue and Anemia Forum." Thank you.


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