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Onset of HIV Symptoms
Apr 1, 2002

Some girl I was talking to briefly at a party thought I liked her and thought we were still living in the '60s. After mingling with a few other people for awhile, I thought I was doing a smart thing by crashing on the couch instead of driving. A little while later, I felt as though I was having a wet dream and I wake up realizing this girl was pulling a "Monica Lewinsky" on me. The opportunity to take the precaution I normally would have taken was out the window. She insists that she's clean, but I'm paranoid. I was tested for virtually every STD within 96 hours after exposure. Everything is negative thus far. However, because I'm normally so cautious, my stress level from worrying about this has skyrocketed. Is it possible to believe that you are manifesting symptoms for STDs -- HIV in particular -- simply from stressing over them so much? (It's been three weeks since exposure, and the first time I believed I saw something was one week after exposure -- mouth ulcers.) People tell me I'm stressing for nothing, but I'm in med school too, so it's difficult not to worry when you're taking courses on retroviruses.

Response from Mr. Kull

Aaahhhh--the 1960's. I actually don't know what the 60's were like, but I've heard they were fun and carefree (at least sexually). But those carefree days have long passed since HIV has come into the picture.

Receiving oral sex, regardless of the setting or circumstances, does not put you at risk for HIV infection, and at minimal risk for other STDs. See Oral Sex for more info. It sounds like the actual event (and possibly the anxiety of being in med school) is taking its toll on your psychological health, which can manifest in physical symptoms.

Women can be perpetrators of nonconsensual sex as well. Don't lose sight of the fact that you did not consent to have sex with her, and that there has been some psychological consequences (anxiety) for you as a result. Even if you do not address this issue directly with her, I encourage you to talk with someone who can be sensitive to your situation (mental health professional, hotline counselor).

RMK



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