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Just donated (as my consequence for my actions), please help with my question
Oct 21, 2012

To begin, I'm a 38 year old male. I am somewhat of a worry wart to say the least. I was in New Jersey about three weeks ago and had an episode with a friend I hadn't seen in years. We had just gone out for a bite and one thing led to another.

Here's my concern: She called me when I returned back home to California to tell me that she is HIV+ and she was so sorry for not telling me before. In the heat of the moment she wasn't thinking and now she's feeling guilty for putting me at risk.

We had vaginal intercourse and it was with a condom, from what I gather that is pretty much as close to a zero risk as it gets, considering the condom did not break which it did not. I also performed oral sex on her with no protection of any kind, unfortunately I don't have the best oral hygiene at all, in fact it's probably like a 2 out of 10, very poor to say the least.

So my question is related to oral sex, I read the risk of transmission is very minimal. In fact I read somewhere on here that the odds are estimated at about 0.5 / 10000, pretty slim in my book. My question is, how much does that change with open cuts in the gums, and so forth. Would that not give direct access to the blood stream? Just wondering if the risk goes into a high risk category or where you would guesstimate the odds.

The reason for my concern is that after the call from her (about two weeks after the episode), I began looking at myself under a microscope and have been so afraid, I guess I just assumed the worst.

Here's what I found: No fever or diarrhea or anything like that BUT I did have a swollen lump on my testical that quickly went away. I have a hollow feeling when I cough which is not normal for me and I also found a swollen lymph node behind both my left and right color bone. Underarms are swollen some and the swelling continues toward the breast on both side. The last thing that I found was a swollen lump just below my right rib cage, research indicated that there is a lymph node in that area. The lump there is so strange and I have never felt it before. It resembles a lymph node and I can move it around and even push it on top of my lower rib. It is so evident it is there and it can be felt very easily with the fingers.

Now to be honest, I am an extremely paranoid individual if you can't already tell. I've had a thermometer in my mouth for a good part of the day since I got that call. Temperature is normal by the way. I find myself looking in the mirror all day to make sure my ears aren't turning blue too (a bit of an exaggeration but that is how paranoid I can get). Based on the exposure, my oral hygiene and the lumps, I have convinced myself that I have contracted hiv.

I don't know if I mentioned this but before the symptoms started and til now, when I cough it's a different feeling, almost like an emptiness or a hollow feeling is how I'd describe it, not a normal feeling when I cough at all. I have no doubt I caught something along my journey, whether it was through her or not, I don't know. Do any of these symptoms seem to be from hiv and if not, is there any other std that comes to mind based on my activity. I will add, I have found some clusters of small brown spots primarily on my arms that I hadn't previously noticed beneath the body hair. They look like moles more than anything, small and brown (look just like a mole / sun spot) and not raised or itchy at all (quite possibly moles that all formed together that I hadn't noticed before).

Anyway, just wanted to know what you would estimate the odds were that I caught something based on my oral health. I would so much appreciate your help.

Worried in California

Response from Ms. Southall

Hi All that you have researched is correct. Protected vaginal sex does reduce the risk of HIV transmission significantly. It is very difficult for women to transmit the virus to men and add a condom and the reduction is even more so. Yes oral sex does carry the lowest risk of HIV transmission and yes with your oral health that risk does increase some.

There are a few things to also take into consideration, 1st is she on medication and is her viral load undetectable? We know that when someone is in that position the risk of HIV transmission is reduced by up to 96%. Also there can be other sexually transmitted infections that are out there and that you also need to be concerned about. So my recommendation would be to get screening test done for these STI's. For HIV, The guidelines for HIV testing are to be initially tested at 3 weeks then again at 3 months, if both of these tests are negative then so are you, as long as there were no other types of exposure during that 3 month period, if so then the timing starts over again

I hope this helps, be well, Shannon



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