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High Risk Exposure followed by Molluscum The Body: Rick Sowadsky M.S.P.H., C.D.S, Answers to Safe Sex Questions

Jan 9, 1997

You have answered a previous questions by me regarding a high-risk sexual situation in which I was unprotected while giving anal sex. Two weeks later I was diagnosed with molluscum. It's still too early for me to be tested, but does this mean it will be positive, or would it be too early for symptoms after only 2 weeks and I just have molluscum without HIV. Also, if symptoms are showing, does that mean a test taken now would be accurate or could I still get a false negative? I am so absorbed with thinking about this it's impossible for me to concentrate on anything. I'm still clinging to the hope that my penis had no abrasions which would have allowed me to become infected. While I do realize that I'm at HIGH RISK, what are the chances that I might be lucky and test negative? Thanks.

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question. HIV and Molluscum are two totally different diseases, and having one does not necessarily mean you're infected with the other. Molluscum is much easier to get than HIV, since direct contact to the Molluscum growths can lead to infection, whereas HIV must get into the bloodstream to infect you. So having Molluscum does NOT indicate infection with HIV. More information on Molluscum is found in another question entitled Molluscum Contagiosum on this web page.

Regardless of any symptoms you may or may not have, you can still take up to 6 months to show positive on the HIV tests. If you read the question, Acute Retroviral Syndrome dated January 3, 1997, this goes through the symptoms of recent HIV infection in greater detail.

Nobody can quantify your risks other than to say that you were at high risk of infection, but it's not a guarantee that you became infected. You may be infected, but then again, you may not. Only HIV testing will answer this question. A 6 month test will be the most accurate test to determine whether you became infected with HIV or not. But until that time, you will have to assume you're infected with HIV, unless a 6 month test shows otherwise. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).

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