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Symptoms of seroconversion
Sep 28, 2000

I'm a gay male (31) who has always practiced safe sex. However, 10 days ago, I had an encounter with another man, aged 23, who gave me anal sex (ie I was the bottom) with no condom. He fucked me pretty hard, but did not cum inside me. I also rimmed him. Almost exactly a week later, I had some mild flu-like symptoms (sore throat, achy) which then progressed to some bad diarrhea and nausea. I'm feeling somewhat better now, but not 100%. I wonder if I picked up something from the rimming, but also wonder whether he damaged my anus. My worst fear, of course, is that I may have seroconverted. I'll get tested in 3 months, but in the meantime, I'm beside myself with worry. Can you assess the risk levels here?

Response from Mr. Kull

If your partner was HIV positive, there is a chance that you could have been infected with HIV. There is some debate over the risk for infection per episode of unprotected anal sex (see Serodiscordant male couple anal sex). The fact that he did not ejaculate inside of you decreases your risk, but does not eliminate it.

Onset of symptoms related to primary HIV infection usually occurs 2-4 weeks after infection. It is difficult to say if your symptoms were related to HIV infection. It is possible that you had some other infection, possibly from rimming your partner or from your environment.

I would encourage you to examine why you did not use a condom in this one episode of anal sex. You say that you always use condoms for anal sex, and that's great. Try not to be hard on yourself for this slip-up. It's equally important to review the circumstances surrounding this one event. What was different? Were you drunk or high? Or did it have something to do with your communication with your partner? People sometimes say, "It just happened," or "There wasn't a condom around." That doesn't cut it. The reasons for taking a risk are complex and the more you understand, the better your chances are for remaining negative. Talking about sex can be extremely informative.

RMK



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