Shingles at 30

Question

Hello Dr. Frascino:

I had shingles about a week ago and am a 30 year old male. The doctor told me not to worry but I have been freaking out every since. Not to mention I have had a lot on my mind lately (death in family, move, new job, finishing up grad school, etc). I consider myself straight but have had some experiences with guys - received blow jobs, mutual masturbation but never anal. Do you think I am at risk for HIV?

Answer

Hi,

Most cases of shingles, particularly if they have the classic limited eruption, have nothing whatsoever to do with HIV. So relax.

Regarding HIV risk, oral sex carries a low risk for HIV transmission. The insertive partner's risk is considered to be less than that of the receptive partner. Mutual masturbation is not considered a risk for HIV transmission.

Whatever you are gay, straight, bi-curious, "straight but have some experiences with guys," whatever doesn't really matter to the virus. If you feel you've placed yourself at risk, get HIV tested. Symptoms in and of themselves are notoriously unreliable in diagnosing HIV disease.

Good luck. Stay safe. Stay well.

Dr. Bob