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Rash after protected sex with HIV+ The Body: Rick Sowadsky M.S.P.H., C.D.S, Answers to Safe Sex Questions

Jan 9, 1997

About a month ago, I engaged in penetrating anal sex with an HIV+ male. I was not penetrated. A condom was used and it remained intact. Other activities included deep kissing, masturbation and fingering of my anus. About a week later, I developed a rash at the base of my penis. This rash was cultured and is not herpes. It has cleared up with cortisone cream on my penis but has spread to the thigh. Additionally, one month later, I came down with the flu. It started with a cough, which worsened, then became a fever of 101 for about 2 days. I have been exposed to the flu so expect that but am not sure. I will be tested later but am running scared with the symptoms, i.e., rash and flu. I have has eczema before but not at the base of my penis, or scrotum. Is this consistent with HIV?

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your questions. Having a rash near the penis is not consistent with recent HIV infection. Also having flu-like symptoms does not necessarily indicate recent HIV infection either. The Question, Acute Retroviral Syndrome, dated January 3, 1997, goes into the details of recent HIV infection in greater detail. If you had protected intercourse, and your only other activities were kissing, masturbation and fingering, you would be considered at low risk for HIV. If you are still concerned about HIV, if you wait 6 months after the encounter and get tested, the tests are more than 99% accurate in determining whether you are infected with HIV or not.

If your rash is continuing or spreading, you still need to seek medical attention, regardless of what you think the problem may be. But having a rash, or even flu-like symptoms, does not necessarily indicate HIV infection. Because symptoms of recent HIV infection look exactly like the symptoms of many other illnesses, NOBODY can tell you whether your symptoms are due to HIV or not. Only HIV testing can determine if a person has HIV or not. In the meantime, if you think you've been exposed, assume that you're infected until a 6 month test indicates 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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