HIV Prevention and Testing > Am I Infected?

Needing advice on getting tested.

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jeffreyh:
Hi all,

   My situation involves fairly low risk sexual activities-oral sex.  It has mostly been receiving (insertive) and a few giving without ejaculation but perhaps some exposure to precum.  The main reason that I'm scared is that I'm Bipolar and tend to go on drinking binges on the weekends.  I'm well aware that my drinking has gotten out of control.  There have been a couple of times that I can't remember getting somewhere or all that took place.  Once, I woke up naked in bed with a guy friend who swears that we didn't do anything because I was too drunk.  I know this sounds like a crazy question and yes, I'm embarrassed even asking it, but what the hell...Would one know the next day if they had been anally penetrated during the "drunken" night??  I could see maybe some oral going on but anal and not knowing it?? Another reason that I'm worried is that I experienced some ARS-like symptoms for @ 4 days (Doctor says it was strep throat) that ended with an all too scary tell-tell rash that looked like a sunburn on my chest/neck/shoulders that lasted for a day and a half and then went away.  About two weeks later, I started having lymph node swelling and tenderness/achiness in my groin area and in my neck.  They were never to the point where you could visibly see the swelling, but you could feel it.  Well, it's been over a month now since the sickness with rash and this damn lymph node pain/swelling hasn't gone away!!
So, I know I need to get tested but here's my dilemma: My new health insurance doesn't kick in till July 1st.  For now, I'm on my old health insurance plan (COBRA extended benefits).  I was wanting to get the blood draw test on my old health plan and pick up the results in about a week after I'm on my new health plan (I'm going on vacation for a week and plan to get the results when I get back).  Does anyone know if this might throw me into a "preexisting condition" with my new health insurance?  Also, I know that some people say to get tested anonymously but if it's positive, isn't staying anonymous practically impossible, especially once I would need to seek treatment?

Thanks for all the advice and support!

Andy Velez:
OK Jeffrey, first thing you need to do is to take some deep slow breaths in and out. Right now, no kidding.

You've got a lot of diffirent issues tossed in together here. Let's see what I can sort out.

Giving oral is risky more in theory than actuality. There are very, vrey documented cases of transmission in this manner and even those are questionable. THere's much more evidence that it's not risky, especially if no ejaculation takes place.

It's difficult to say flatly that if anal sex had occured you would have known it. Presumably there would at least have been some soreness if not blood, semen or lube as other evidence. From what you have written I would doubt it happened, but HIV status is never something to guess about. So yes, getting tested at 13 weeks is a good plan. My guess is that you will  test negative.

None of the symptoms you are concerned about are in anyway HIV-specific. And you kind of casually toss in rather dismissively that your doctor thinks your sore throat is strepp. Whether it is or not, I would suggest discussing any symptoms with your doctor rather than practicing medicine without a license on your self, which will only get you into trouble.

What is a very big red flag in what you have written is this matter of drinking and blacking out. This is extremely dangerous and not something to be ignored and to just think it will go away or that you can control it somehow through willpower. I suggest you get some professional help to assit in sorting out the issues involved.

Good luck with your test result.

Cheers,

Ann:
Jeffrey,

I'm pretty sure that any new diagnoses made while on COBRA will not be classed as a pre-existing condition.

If you are in the States you can find an anonymous testing center near you by going to the HIV testing center database and entering your zip code. You won't have to worry about insurance right away if you test anonymously.

You're doing the right thing in testing. Anyone who is sexually active should be having a full sexual health care check-up, including but not limited to hiv testing, at least once a year and more often if unprotected intercourse occurs.

If you aren't already having regular, routine check-ups, now is the time to start. As long as you make sure condoms are being used for intercourse, you can fully expect your routine hiv tests to return with negative results. Don't forget to always get checked for all the other sexually transmitted infections as well, because they are MUCH easier to transmit than hiv.

Let us know how it goes.

Ann

jeffreyh:
Thank you both for your supportive comments/suggestions.

megasept:
 ;) You sound like lots of fun on the weekends, but I guess it all hits you Mondays. Anal sex...chances are you'd know. Nodes and swelling...thousands of reasons. If you get tested "anonymously" using an alias then you'd get results without affecting your other coverages. You don't need to be treated because you have HIV, you need to discuss treatment. You must have full blood work done to monitor your disease and it's possible effects. The "pre-existing condition" thing doesn't mean you aren't eligible right away. A letter saying you've been under treatment (it really only says you've been insured non-stop) ;) is often generated (even automatically) by your last insurer to give to your new one. State law might also have an effect (I may be remembering this wrong). If you can't handle the drinking then...well, don't. Don't mean to rain on anyone's parade. I wish you good luck! Be bad, but not too bad, on your vacation, OK?

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