Pass it along?
Aug 10, 2008
Hi Doc: You have a great thing going here...between reassuring worry warts and advising people truly in need. My question is this: I had unprotected sex with a girl I met at a bar, she was from Brazil and I know nothing about her. I am incredibly ashamed of this and I have truly changed many of my bad habits since this mistake. A week after having sex with her, I had sex with a girl that I am now still dating and very serious with. Honestly, I just messed up and I regret doing this more than the first girl. Anyway, I want to make sure I didnt pass anything, including HIV, along to my girlfriend. I tested negative for all STDs, including HIV, after 12.5 weeks. I then tested negative for HIV at 24 weeks. I am confident that I am fine, but I am scared that I gave something to my girlfriend. My question is this: could I have had HIV in my system for a week or longer and my body naturally fought is off the same way a PEP works, resulting in my subsequent negative tests, but have been infectious for a few weeks after having sex with the first girl? My girlfriend got all sorts of worrisome symptoms afterwards, including swollen lymph nodes in I think a few places, joint pain, muscle pain, fatigue. I am so worried and I want to know if my negative tests mean that I never could have given her anything at any point or if I could have been infectious for a short time after the other exposure. I want to marry my girlfriend and I am afraid that I have ruined everything. Can I WOO-HOO and move on? Thanks for your great work.
Response from Dr. Frascino
Your fears are completely unwarranted. HIV doesn't work that way. (Neither does PEP, by the way.) Your negative HIV tests out to 24 weeks are definitive and conclusive. You are (and always have been) HIV negative. You could not have transmitted HIV to your girlfriend. No way. No how.
PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) works by aborting HIV infection. In other words, it helps prevent the person from actually becoming infected, even though he was exposed to HIV. PEP is not treatment for an infection, but rather prophylaxis against one.
So it's time to WOO-HOO and put those unwarranted worries to rest.
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