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How do I know if I am at low risk or high risk?

Sep 21, 1999

I am a guy (30) who has frequented bath houses and sex bars over the past year. i have also had sex in public washrooms and parks...I've NEVER recieved anal sex without a condom,and with a condom only a couple of times.Mostly i have performed or recieved oral sex(no condom)and I have occaisionally swallowed..I've always thought that this type of activity was considered EXTREMELY low risk-even if you do swallow!Recently I was at a bath house and i Fucked a guy(unprotected) but only for about 20 seconds....I also thought that being a 'top' was very low risk...I'm confused, please help me...I have recently decided to completly abstain from public and anonymous sex,due to extreme fear and guilt.I was tested for hiv recently as standard procedure prior to a cosmetic surgery....I,m assuming i was surgeon never told me.So, my second question is, would a surgeon HAVE to tell you if you were hiv positive?Also, please give me some early warning signs to look out for. thank you so much...this site is awesome!

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Thank you for your question. If you are ever unsure about whether you were at low risk or high risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), there are several things that you can do to determine whether you were at risk or not.

1) Take our HIV/STD Risk Assessment Survey. This survey will give you a general idea as to whether you were at risk for these diseases or not. If you were at a potential risk of infection for HIV and other STDs, after you submit the survey, the response page will let you know if you may have been at risk, and it will suggest that you consider getting tested. The response page should appear on your screen within a minute after you hit the "submit" button at the bottom of the survey page.

2) Look throughout this website for the answers to your questions. If you cannot find a post addressing your questions or concerns, you can also use the website search tool to find things easier.

3) If you still cannot find the answers to your questions, you can e-mail us at or call our hotline at (nationwide).

Based on what you told me, you were considered at a significant risk of infection for HIV and other STDs based on several things:

1) Barebacking (unprotected anal intercourse) is high risk for HIV and other STDs, even as the top partner.

2) Giving oral sex is risky for HIV and other STDs, especially if there is ejaculation (whether you swallow or not).

Based on what you told me, I strongly suggest that you get tested for HIV and other STDs whether you are showing symptoms or not (it is possible to have HIV or another STD and not have any noticeable symptoms). In addition, if you are suffering from "extreme fear and guilt", I strongly suggest that you discuss those issues with a mental health counselor, especially if this problem is interfering with your day-to-day life on an ongoing basis.

Finally, you cannot assume that you tested negative for HIV (or that you were tested at all) just because you had surgery. You will need to talk to your doctor to see if you were tested, and if so, what the results of your test were. Even if you tested positive, in many cases, this would not affect your ability to have surgery. In most cases, if you tested positive, the doctor would tell you so, but do not automatically assume this. If you want to be sure of your test results, ask the doctor.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).

HIV risk from sex toys
Risk of sexual encounter while on vacation overseas

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