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stressed out - testing tomorrow
Oct 16, 2012

Hi Richard!

In February this year, I brought home a female after a night out, she proceeded to give me unprotected oral sex, and we then engaged in protected vaginal intercourse. I thought I was being responsible, but upon waking up the next morning and noticing (and then subsequently remembering) that I had a burn blister on my index finger, that was then 2 days old and was the result of a cigarette burn in the area the night before the one I refer to above. I used that finger the previous night to finger the female briefly. The blister was not infected or anything, but it did seem to be slightly open (it was now flat and not risen). I am aware that what characterises an open wound is one that is fresh and some sources indicate that it needs to be bleeding, but there is little informing about exactly this type of open blister occurrence and its transmission risk. This has been my only risky encounter. Now almost exactly 2 months ago, I woke up after a busy, party-filled weekend. About 2 hours later and only once I started eating, an almost unbearable pain emerged in the roof of my mouth (this had occurred when I was younger and did not eat for a prolonged period of time and so I thought it could be an acid build-up of some sort), and my tonsils flared up violently to the extent I thought they would start bleeding. I went to the doctor only about 2 weeks afterwards, who gave me a weeks course of antibiotics, which helped a bit but did not nullify the problem exhaustively. To this day, my throat has not stopped being red, although it is now painless. Visibly - my throat looks viral (no yellow spots, just redness). Growing up in South Africa, I have always been terrified of contracting HIV (I believe this paranoia indiscriminately plagues the whole nation). I also know that the only way to be sure is to get tested and that a test now would be conclusive, given the window period etc,etc. But what I seek is some medical reassurance, because the more this dwells in my head the more certain I become that I have contracted this virus given the persistence of my red throat. What else could be causing this? Allergies? I suffer badly from post nasal drip, and within the last month it has reached the point where my nose is even leaking on a day-to day basis. The mucous I produce is not yellow, which I know could be a sign that allergies are present, but I am still absolutely terrified. Any advice or information concerning the riskiness of my mindless escapade given the circumstances I have described, and the potential causes of my throat and nasal problems would be greatly appreciated. Yours sincerely Terrified Youngster

Response from Mr. Cordova

Hi TY:

HIV needs direct access to the bloodstream for transmission to occur. Your blister was already on the mend, making it an unlikely route of transmission.

Since I am not a doctor, I can't say whether or not your throat problems are related to your post-nasal drip, but I can tell you that it has nothing to do with HIV. I've experienced post-nasal drip myself, and it irritated my throat. Perhaps that is what is happening to you? A visit to your doctor might help help shed some light on the situation.

If it has been more than six months since your last HIV test, I would suggest going through with your HIV test tomorrow anyways. I recommend that anyone who is sexually active should be tested for all STD's, including HIV, at least once a year, and preferably every six months. Some STD's are transmitted via skin-to-skin contact so even if you use a condom transmission can occur. Routine testing is the best way to make sure you remain in tip top shape. I hope this helps.

In health,

Richard



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