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another worried guy

Mar 14, 2009

Hi Dr. Bob,

I guess you get a lot of these, but here goes. A few days ago I had sex with a guy who I later found out is HIV+. We kissed, engaged in mutual unprotected oral sex with no ejaculation, mutual digital penetration and we had protected anal sex (I was insertive). Two days later, I got a sore throat and felt kind of feverish. I plan on getting tested, but I wanted to hear your thoughts on my risk of exposure. I do not have any open sores/cuts in my mouth or on my fingers.

Thanks so much

Response from Dr. Frascino


Yep, I do get a lot of very similar stories. Check the archives and you'll find at least a gazillion. Why is it that people freak out after the fact when they find out a sex partner was HIV+? If you hadn't found out his serostatus, would you be less freaked out? Certainly you wouldn't be at any less risk, right? The take-home lesson is that we must always consider the possibility that our sex partners could be HIV positive and take all the necessary precautions to prevent transmission of the virus. That way if you find out after the fact that last week's trick was also a "positive" treat, you won't freak out. Remember, 25% of HIV-positive folks in the U.S. have absolutely no idea they are infected with the virus. OK, I'll get off my soapbox now.

Your HIV-acquisition risk is limited to unprotected oral, assuming the latex condom was used properly for anal sex and did not break. Oral sex carries a very low risk fro HIV transmission/acquisition. Symptoms that appear "2 days" after a roll in the hay would not be due to HIV. The symptoms of acute retroviral syndrome (ARS) take two to three weeks to become manifest.

My advice is that you get an HIV-antibody test at the three-month mark. Tests taken prior to three months are not considered to be conclusive. During the three-month window period I suggest you avail yourself of the wealth of information on this site. Begin with "HIV Basics" on The Body's homepage. Then proceed on to the archives of this forum where we have entire chapters devoted to HIV sexual prevention, HIV sexual transmission, safer sexual techniques, HIV testing and symptoms. If you speed read, you should make it through a major chunk of the information and be almost an expert by the time you get tested.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob

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