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what is the risk

Nov 11, 2001

I recently had what I feel could be a possible HIV exposure. I had unprotected sex with a partner whose status is unknown. I stopped the act almost as soon as it started (I would guess 1-3 minutes), but I am still concerned about a possible transmission. Two things are adding to my concern: I have the HPV virus and I know that makes the virus easier to transmit to me. I have also been showing "flu like symptoms" such as a sore throat, a small and temporary rash on my upper stomach and swollen glands in my airmpit and groin. I am writing this nine days after the contact, the symptoms started at seven. I would greatly appreciate your time in determining my risk. I have called hot lines, and I am aware that there are no sure symptoms and the only way to know is to test; however, I am looking for as much information as I can aquire to get me through the three month waiting period. Thank you.

Response from Mr. Kull

It's difficult to determine what other information you need at this point based on your question. It is possible to transmit HIV when having unprotected sex, and the presence of an HPV infection may increase your risk for infection (if the location of the infection is coming into contact with your partner's fluids).

Many different variables (that in this case are unknown) will determine the likelihood of infection in any given episode of unprotected sex. Your partner's HIV status is clearly the most significant variable. Other factors might include your partner's viral load, the actual sexual behavior you engaged in, the amount of fluids you came into contact with, the type of fluids, the presence of STDs, and your immune response. This is why the odds of infection per contact are low: certain variables need to be met for transmission to occur. However, since it only takes one encounter to transmit HIV, it is best to cut down on the odds and use a condom in the future.


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