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Potential infection or smoking cessation?
Feb 20, 2014

Recently (last 4-5 weeks), I had protected sexual contact with two AA female sex workers in Virginia, once each and completely protected both times save manually stimulating one. While the condoms used appeared to be intact and functional, like many I began to regret my decision and worry about potential HIV infection. I know condoms are effective so I put it out of my mind and figured I'd get regularly tested as I have my whole life just to be sure. However, I quit smoking around the same time and began to develop bronchitis like symptoms, such as fatigue, coughing (dry at first but productive later on), headache, etc. My issue is that the symptoms for ARS are similar to many of the effects of smoking cessation. Now I am worried that I may have picked it up anyhow and I fear the unknown state of my body. I know three months is the recommended window but, statistically, what is the sensitivity of detection of an oral test at 5 weeks? I really need something to go off of. And do you think my symptoms are more likely related to cessation or psychosomatic manifestation than actual ARS?

Response from Ms. Southall

Hi

Condoms are effective in the prevention of HIV transmission, as long as they are used correctly and do not break or slip off. Also if lubricant is used it must be water based. The other thing to remember is that there are other sexually transmitted infections out there that you need to be concerned about and are much easier to get than HIV.

Yes testing is the only way to truly know your HIV status. Yes mental health and stress can cause any symptoms to seem exasperated.

Your overall risk of HIV transmission is extremely small because of the use of condoms. Having a negative result at 5 weeks is a great sign but it is recommended that you receive a final test at the 90 day mark to ensure your results.

Be well and stay safe, Shannon



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