Feb 23, 2014
Doctor, I am a heterosexual male who recently hit a low point in my life. I'm ashamed to say that after feeling pretty bad and having two much to drink two nights in a row I visited a red light district in South Korea and had sex with four prostitutes over the course of two nights (two each). My thinking at the time was that I've heard the HIV rate in Korea is extremely low and korean men are known to frequent prostitutes so why not go ahead? Since then I've not only felt very ashamed but have become very anxious about possible STDs, especially after noticing a red dot near my genitals where a condom wouldn't cover about a day after the last encounter. I was screened for STDs two days after the last encounter (though from what I've read that may have been pointless) and asked a Korean doctor about the red sore. The tests came back all negative and he seemed to think the sore was just an ingrown hair (as I recently shaved before these encounters) and when it popped today some solid white pus came out of it like I read an ingrown hair should instead of what would happen if it was herpes. I've posted on a blog elsewhere but the writer wasn't a doctor (though he seemed very well informed) so I wanted to ask an expert. He said my chances of anything serious were very close to 0%. During the encounters I am 90% sure a condom was always used for vaginal sex and certain it was on two of the four occasions. However there was oral sex I'm unsure about and some slight finger-vagina insertion in one case. I'm wondering what my odds of anything serious are after this (especially if god forbid one of the condoms broke without my knowing, one of the girls was on their period or if I had raw finger nail cuticles or something... As the alcohol led to some memory loss). Also, two days after the last encounter and three days after the first I developed a mild sore throat and slight cough which have somewhat subsides already (after three days. Then about five days later developed some mouth discomfort and my tongue now has a white coating and feels like I burned it. It also feels like the inside of my mouth is a little swollen. I also had a slight sore on my tongue which went away in about a day. I also wonder if that could be due to my anxiety which has led me to drink some and suffer a good amount of sleep loss. I'm very ashamed of my actions and also very concerned. Is my concern well placed? And is so how concerned should I really be and what actions should I take? I would truly appreciate a response and would have no problem donating if you help inform my on my situation. Thanks
Response from Ms. Southall
Hi I'm not a doctor either but have been working in this field for almost 20 years. Your experience did carry a very low risk of HIV transmission. Because you are only 90% sure a condom was used, that does leave 10% that there may not have been one used. Anytime you have unprotected sex you put yourself at risk for not only HIV but all of the other STD's out there, which are much easier to get. I would recommend testing not just for HIV but all the other STD's. The risk of HIV transmission with oral sex is extremely low. It is even reasonable to state that for the person receiving oral sex (that is on whom oral sex is being performed) the risk of acquisition of the virus is practically zero. For the person placing his or her mouth on someone else's genitals, the risk may be slightly higher but still very very low. Theoretically, obvious cuts, wounds, sores, or infections in the mouth could raise this risk. Condoms are effective in the prevention of HIV transmission, as long as they are used correctly and do not break or slip off. The testing guidelines for HIV are to be initially tested at 3 weeks post exposure and then again at 90 days. As long as there are no other exposures happened during this time frame than the results are conclusive.
Again your overall risk is incredibly low but it is best to know your status. Especially since there was a small chance things happened without protection.
Also, being hung up on beating yourself up is not useful! Take charge back and get a clean bill of health and use this as a lesson learned and move on with life.!!
Be well and stay safe, Shannon
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