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HIV Transmission and Education >> Am I Infected?

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My Story/Questions
      #18418 - 06/15/01 02:01 AM

Reading others' stories has really helped me deal with my situation so I figured I would post mine.

About seven weeks ago I had unprotected heterosexual sex with a woman that I met in a bar. The day after the incident I did a little research at the CDC and decided that sex with a (presumably) non drug using white woman was relatively low risk. However, six days after the incident I started to get a mild cold that I still have six weeks later. I had almost put the possible exposure out of my mind when I did a search for early hiv symptoms. When the acute infection stuff came up I got really scared. I haven't had any fever or rash, but I have had bad nasal congestion and a mildly sore/swollen throat that just won't go away. For the past few weeks I have really been stressed about it ruining what should be a great time in my life. Life is just to damn short for me to be wasting months of my life worrying about what I can't control, but that's exactly what I'm doing.

I wish that I had gotten a pcr test a couple weeks after the exposure but the risk of false positive scared me. Also, I want to have anonymous testing. I think at this point I will wait out the next five weeks and get the antibody test at 12 weeks.

I have seen varying statistics about the reliability of the test after three months. Has anybody found a consensus about how reliable they are? Also, the clinic I plan to go to uses Orasure rather than the blood test. Does anybody know if that makes a difference about the reliability after three months? Also, does anybody know if it is possible to get an anonymous rapid results test?

Thanks to everybody and I wish you all the best luck and mental health.

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Re: My Story/Questions new
      #18446 - 06/16/01 01:36 AM

Nasal congestion IS NOT A SYMPTOM OF AVS...period...any HIV doc will tell
you that. Upper respiratory problems ARE not a symptom of
people will start shouting at me that the FLU has these symptoms...but a FLU is not
just one gland...and typically diarrhea and aching muscles...look, you know the
difference from a cold and the flu. Now, psychosomatically you can manifest rash,
even fever from the only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested.

Your one time encounter, if SHE WAS HIV+, puts you at about 1-500 if you were
the inserter without condoms...can you catch it from a one time exposure YES...but
the odds ARE WAY IN YOUR FAVOR. A neg test at 3 months and I would forget
about it. Find the girl and have her get a test, and the fact that she would get one, you
can almost not get a test. Have her show you the results...I'm sure if you tell her how
this is eating you up she might not take offense and she might just get tested.


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Re: My Story/Questions new
      #18457 - 06/16/01 09:31 PM

Thanks very much for the response.

I think I'll be able to believe a 3 month test, so I am not going to try to track down the girl which would be rather difficut for me to do.

While I realize that my symptoms are not the primary red flags every site seems to indicate that there is a wide range of possible symptoms and it is really strange for me to be sick for so long in the spring/summer.

If it weren't for these symptoms I would be able to perceive my risk as 1 in 5000 (1 in 10 that she had hiv times 1 in 500 of contracting it from her) and let it go.

Anyway, I guess I'll find out the truth in six long weeks from now.

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Reged: 06/05/01
Posts: 119
Re: My Story/Questions new
      #18483 - 06/17/01 04:47 PM

Hi there :)

Shane is right - congestion is not a symptom of ARS. Also, ARS is not likely to last for six weeks - usually it lasts 1-2 weeks, and does not return. So take some reassurance from that. I don't know where you're from, but I am in NYC, and the weather these past two seasons has been horrendous, and many people are sick with colds from allergies and the unseasonable weather. That could very well be what you're experiencing, but because you're anxious, you're afraid it may be a sign of HIV infection.

Your chances of having contracted HIV from one incident of unprotected heterosexual sex are very low. As the insertive partner, your risk is even lower. However, I do think it may be wise to see a doctor so that s/he can test you for other STD's. Many people are so worried about HIV that they forget it is the least common of all sexually transmitted infections. Chlamydia is the most common, and these days, herpes and HPV are on the rise. Even Hepatitis B is 150 times more infectious than HIV, according to OSHA. In this case, I'm sure you are fine, but you may want to consider a full checkup, just to be certain.

HIV antibody tests are still the best way to determine your serostatus. Other tests, such as the PCR, are not often used as diagnostic tools (and are not usually recommended as such). They help mainly with the treatment of HIV+ individuals. Your decision to be tested at 12 weeks at your local clinic is a good one, and you can trust that. It is VERY rare for someone to take longer than 3 months to produce a detectable level of antibodies.

I have heard that the Orasure test is just as reliable as a blood sample. Speak to the counselors at the clinic about it if you are concerned - they should be able to provide you with good information. Or try posting it as a question in the "Safe Sex" forum, and Dr. Kull may answer it.

I know it will be hard for you to wait five more weeks, but you have already come more than halfway. And regardless of how slow the days pass, or how anxious you become, eventually the day *will* come when it's time, and you can put this incident behind you. So it's best to have fun and try not to worry in the meantime, because when your results come back negative, you don't want to look back and see that you just wasted 3 months of your life. I know this, because I have wasted the past 7 years. And that's a LOT longer than just 3 months.

Take care of yourself, and don't punish yourself for this encounter. You are only human. And you will be fine :)


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