Oral Sex 17 Years Ago

Question

Dr. Bob,

Please post or answer this as soon as possible before I drive myself crazy.

Between 17 and 18 years ago I engaged in several episodes of unprotected oral sex. To my knowledge there was never fluid exchanged, so based on reading your archives my risk of infection should be fairly low. I am now married and have three children aged 15, 14, and 9.

I have recently began having hiv-like symptoms. I have shortness of breath, depression, anxiety, insomnia, thrush, and night sweats. I am afraid to go to a doctor for fear that if it is hiv I don't know how I would go on. Now I am terrified that I may have put my whole family at risk.

Could this virus have hidden for so long without being detectable? Should my kids have already shown symptoms if they were infected? Please, please help me!

Answer

Hello,

You remember what happened 17 years ago? I can hardly remember what I had for breakfast yesterday. Your symptoms are suggestive of anxiety, not HIV. Read through the archives of this forum. You'll find lots of testimonies that should offer you some reassurance. You'll also read that oral sex carries an extremely low risk for HIV transmission. I would strongly suggest you seek professional help for your irrational fears. Once your anxiety and depression have been brought under control and you can look at things in a more realistic manner, you can decide if you want to be HIV tested or not. The best I can do is tell you that the chance that symptoms like the ones you describe occurring 17 years after oral sex are related to HIV/AIDS is essentially nonexistent. O.K.?

Dr. Bob