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Is it pain or swellin of glands during ARS ... and survival of of hiv once it leaves the body?

Feb 24, 2002

Dear Ryan,

I am sure you have been asked this before, and I tried to look for answers in the posted messages but I couldnt find any, so I thought Id ask again. Your answer is greatly appreciated.

Within days after a mutual masturbation with another gay male, I developed pain in my lymph nodes. They didnt swell, just were really painful. About three weeks later pain persisted in armpits, groin areas, and neck. I went to my doctor and he told me that my glands were not swollen. However, they remain painful (not when I touch them the pain just comes and goes).

My questions are:

- In a typical ARS case, do lymph nodes swell or are they painful (or both)? And is fever almost always present? - Does semen have to go directly from one persons body to anothers in order for the infection to take place? Or, lets say, if semen that had been exposed to air for a couple of minutes would pose the risk of transmission if it comes into a contact with the head of a penis or a broken pimple? Have there been any cases of infection from semen that had been exposed to air?

Thanks again for your priceless service!

Yours -

Very worried!

Response from Mr. Kull

The bottom line is that there is no evidence that people get infected when engaging in mutual masturbation. This means that your symptoms are not likely to be associated to HIV. Try to remember that sexual transmission of HIV is known to occur in the following ways:

1) Insertive and receptive anal sex

2) Insertive and receptive vaginal sex

3) Unprotected oral sex (this is much lower risk, and the most significant oral activity that poses a risk for infection is to the person performing oral sex on an infected man).

In some of my responses about mutual masturbation, I recommend that people do not use another person's fluids (semen, vaginal secretions, or fluids containing blood) for masturbation (saliva is not included in this list because it is not implicated in transmission). It is generally wise to avoid mucous membrane contact with potentially infected fluids because transmission of HIV and other STDs could happen, even if it is unlikely. Use water or oil-based lubricants for masturbation instead of the semen of a person whose status is unknown or positive.

HIV does not survive when exposed to the environment long enough to pose any real risk for infection through casual contact. See Survival of HIV in the Environment.


Oral sex?

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