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It has been a year and I am still afraid to go and get tested please help

Dec 26, 2017

First of all merry Christmas everyone, here is my story;

Last year on 27th of december i went to a strip club and had an protected and unprotected sex(for 10 mins max) with a female sex worker and since then i have been freaking out that i may have hiv. I was of course, insertive and i also am circumcised. I had no definite sypmtoms in last year and i feel completely normal. However, i know that sympotms cannot be trusted in hiv. Here in my town, sex workers get tested for std every week and they cannot continue to work if they are detected hiv+. And also she was the one who persisted to have unprotected sex (like i said 5-10 mins max i like to exaggerate so it might not be even 5 mins). So what are my chances of getting hiv. I had no exposures before that particular one. Im losing my mind. Thank you for your help

Response from Mr. Jacobs

Thank you for the Christmas greeting! I hope that this holiday season results in less fear than last holiday season, and that the information here can help you to take action.

Based on the events you are describing, the chances of acquiring HIV are pretty darn low - between .38% and .04% (https://www.poz.com/article/HIV-risk-25382-5829). Being circumcised is believed to bring that minute risk down by approximately 60% (http://www.who.int/hiv/topics/malecircumcision/en/). So all in all, it is extremely unlikely to impossible that you would acquire HIV from someone from one episode of brief penetrative vaginal or anal sex.

I don't know what town you are writing from, but it sounds like they take HIV and STIs very seriously. That is certainly a plus in this case, as it reduces your chances of being exposed to transmittable HIV again significantly. I do wonder, however, if the town sex workers are aware that someone living with HIV for six months or long is considered untransmittable, i.e., incapable of transmitting HIV to others? (https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/library/dcl/dcl/092717.html).

Regardless of their awareness levels, I just can't see where the significant risk lies here for you. It saddens me to think you've spent an entire year of your life worried about something that has an infinitesimal risk in the real world. I wonder how many times this year you drove a car, took a prescription medication, gone skiing, or hung Christmas decorations? All of these activities are far more likely to put you at mortal risk than one episode of insertive sex with a person who is being tested regularly for HIV (https://www.advocate.com/commentary/2016/10/26/sex-prep-life-never-without-risk).

Many men and women are conditioned to believe that sexual pleasure must inevitably result in punishment, that erotic contacts must have consequences, that physical passion must lead to pain. If that is the case for you, then I can see how guilt and shame may be part of the reason you have avoided dealing with this over the last 365 days.

So I challenge you to do yourself a HUGE favor. This week, go to a local testing site, and get that HIV test. You have nothing to lose here, except another year of your life to misplaced fear. Most places can do a standard rapid test, and a blood draw. Depending on the location, you may get your HIV negative results back by New Year's. You could begin 2018 knowing you faced the demon, conquered the beast, and didn't let terror dominate your life.

Happy early new year to you!



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