Escort addiction and STDs

Question

Dear Damon,

My last sexual encounter was 3 weeks ago. This would mark my 7 sexual encounter in the course of one year. All of them have been protected vaginal and oral sex. In my last encounter, the woman licked my testicles for a few seconds and we exchanged 3 to 4 kisses on the lips. The last time I was tested was a year ago and all results came out negative.

Like I said, 3 weeks after my last encounter, I started to have a sore throat feeling and I noticed a sore on my lip. The following day I developed a burning sensation on my scrotum and testicles. The next day I started to feel very feverish and feeling my testicles very warm, and also had some chills. At this point, I am more than concerned that I might have gotten HIV, in contrast to other STIs.

Based on the above, what are you recommendations? I have already arranged an appointment to get tested and visit my physician, nonetheless I'd like your opinion.

Thank you in advance.

Answer

Hello,

Based on what you described my recommendation would be for you to relax. Definitely get tested for HIV and STIs, as any ethical sexual person would do routinely, but relax. The events you describe put you at zero risk of getting HIV.

Remember, HIV must have a direct route of sexual transmission from one person's body into the mucous membranes of another through blood, semen, vaginal fluids, or occasionally in breast milk. It cannot be transmitted casually through hugging, touching, kissing, mutual masturbation, rubbing genitals, licking, sharing toilet seats, and so on.

So what's with all the flu-like symptoms and burning? Only a healthcare specialist who sees you in person can tell you for sure. But my guess is that you are suffering more from the subject heading of your letter than anything else.

The title you used to reach out is, "Escort addiction and STDs". Yet your inquiry doesn't mention anything to do with "escort addiction." I'm gonna take a stab in the blank slate here and guess that most, if not all, of the seven encounters over the past year were with escorts. And if that's the case, then I'm going to go one step further and guess that you're feeling ashamed, guilty, or 'addicted' for enjoying transactional sex.

There is nothing inherently wrong with paying for consensual sex with another adult. But the guilt and shame about paying can lead to shame that manifests itself in physical symptoms like fevers and burning. Again, only a doctor or healthcare provider can rule out a medical concern or an STI. But if those tests all come back negative, then I do suggest you consider talking to a qualified therapist or trusted person in your area who can respect your decisions, and help you to feel empowered about you are pursuing sexual pleasure.

But bottom line here - You have described no activity that could remotely put you at risk of acquiring HIV. The virus doesn't care how many sexual partners you have had, nor how much money was exchanged. If someone HIV negative does not protect themselves with condoms, and/or PrEP*, and/or U=U**, then they are more at more risk of having sex with one main partner than 100 escorts with protection.

I hope this information helps to you relax and to continue making informed sexual health decisions that bring you meaningful connection, pleasure, and joy.

*To learn more about how PrEP prevents HIV please check out: http://www.thebody.com/index/treat/tenofovir_prevention.html

**To learn more about how U=U prevents HIV please check out: https://www.preventionaccess.org