Seroconversion or Fear?

Question

Around April 20th, I had unprotected oral sex with a guy I started dating. It was literally less than a minute and he didn't cum. 2 weeks later I got sick with what I thought was a flu. Had a sore throat, cough, sneezing, a fever that would come and go, as well as body aches. A few weeks went by and my cough and sore throat lingered. I went to the Dr's to see if they could figure out why. They thought it might be allergies or acid reflux and prescribed me meds for it. After having the sore throat for over a month and a half with no relief, I got more worried and looked up reasons why I could still have it and HIV was listed. I started feeling nauseous and having diarrhea and also noticed a few small swollen lymph nodes on my neck. I went back to the Dr's and told them that I would like to be checked for hiv and they did the test as well as other blood work like white blood count. The test came back negative and my blood counts easy fine. I retested again at 3 months and it was negative. This past week would have been 4 months since my exposure, so I got retested since I still have a sore throat on my right side and occasional fever feelings along with diarrhea and feeling really tired. The test came back negative. I don't know why my throat is still hurting. Should I keep testing till 6 months? I've read conflicting information that says 3 months is conclusive and that 6 months is conclusive. At 4 months, is my negative conclusive? I am very worried and anxious. Please help calm my nerves. Do hiv symptoms last more than a few weeks? I've read the they don't but I'm still wondering if these are HIV symptoms. Thanks for your help.

Answer

I know how hard it is to wait for those test results to come back when you think you're at risk of HIV. Fortunately, the activity you describe here poses nearly no risk whatsoever. It is already quite unlikely for someone to get HIV from oral sex. The fact that this encounter only lasted a minute, with no ejaculation (cumming), means there was no opportunity for HIV to be transmitted even if your partner did have HIV.

Three months is the maximum time a new HIV infection would show up on a test. Most people would show HIV positive in about eight weeks, depending on the test used. An HIV transmission in April would show up in August.

So what's going on with the sore throat, fever, and diarrhea? In order to find that out, you must continue to follow up with your primary doctor. But my hunch here is that it is your anxiety creating these symptoms, not your body. Our fears are very powerful, and can sometimes "trick" the body into manifesting certain symptoms. We have been constantly told to be afraid of sex, afraid of other people's bodies, afraid of pleasure, and these fears can sometimes manifest aches and pains that feel like very real conditions.

I recently wrote about my own journey of conquering these fears, and how pre-exposure prophylaxis ("PrEP") helped me with that. Please feel free to check out my experiences here at The Body.

To learn more, check out these links:

HIV Transmission

PrEP on TheBody.com

PrEP Community Forum