HIV Prevention and Testing > Am I Infected?

A Few Questions Regarding Testing and Lifestyle if Found to be Positive

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obodyboardo:
I am a single 26yr old male in the military and am hesitant to get tested because my peers/co-workers are the ones who handle our medical records (my unit is very small, only about 300 ppl) and I want to avoid the embarassment/ridicule that would ensue if I tested positive.

We take blood tests annually, but shortly (about a month) after last years test I had unprotected vaginal sex (twice) with a female co-worker for over half an hour each time. I later found out that she had also had sex with at least 5 of my other co-workers prior to me, and since she let me go unprotected I'm guessing she had no objection letting the others do the same. She got out of the military about 6 months ago, and I have no way to contact her to ask her about her HIV status. I know I made a mistake, and am vowing to always use protection in the future.

I am concerned due to some symptoms I'm having, i.e. For the past 3-4 weeks, I have white coated tongue, mild chest pain from what I'm assuming could be esophageal candidiasis (thrush), I am very lethargic/tired, constant diarrhea, swollen lymph nodes in neck etc. I had a chest x-ray and upper gastro-intestinal barium test done to check on the chest pain, both came back with negative results for anything other than reflux. I am also getting out of the military within the next couple of months and will not have another mandatory blood test done while im still in the service. I would like to get tested anonymously here in the civilian sector, but this country where im stationed doesnt offer anonymous HIV testing to its citizens (let alone to someone who is not a citizen). Ok now with the questions.

1) My first question is about the Oraquick home testing kits available online. I saw the oral one and the blood sample one. Are these reliable enough to give me accurate results, or should I just wait a couple months to get tested once I am back in the USA? 

2) If I do wait to get tested, can waiting those couple of extra months have adverse effects on my health? I know the sooner you start meds to fight HIV the better.

3) I would think that the amount of time engaged in intercourse would affect the likelyhood of passing the virus. Is that true?

4) How long does it take someone after HIV infection to develop thrush?

5) If I do test positive I will never have sex with a non-infected girl again. How easy is it to meet other HIV infected people in order to salvage somewhat of a normal intimate relationship/sex life?

Thanks



Morgan:
Obodyboardo,

OK, here we go.

1).  Be sure that the test you use is FDA approved for an accurate result.  If your test did not involve sending in a blood sample, it isn't FDA approved.

The name of the only approved home test I am aware of is "Home Access Express HIV-1 Test System" manufactured by Home Access Health Corporation.

2).  Waiting to test would not effect your health long term.

3).  Hiv is a very fragile virus that does not easily infect, especially from a woman to a man.  That said, time exposed could be, but is not necessarily, significant.

4).  Thrush is not one of the symptoms of primary hiv infection.  It can occur in individuals who have been (unknowingly) hiv positive for years and can be one of the initial signs that your immune system is significantly compromised.  That said, thrush can occur in anyone.  The point is that it is not indicative of primary infection.

5).  You can have a normal sex life with negative or positive people with a few simple precautions.  No kidding.  And there are many avenues to meet other positive people should you ultimately become so yourself.  But that's getting WAY ahead of yourself.

Because the military routinely screens for hiv,  the odds of you having been exposed are not high.

Get a test 13 weeks post exposure.  Nothing you describe in the way of symptoms is indicative of primary hiv infection.  Really.  I would fully expect a negative result. 

Regards,

Morgan

edited for content

RapidRod:
Thrush is not a specific sign of HIV infection or a suppressed immune system. Anyone for a number of reasons can get thrush.

Ann:
obody,

Morgan mainly gave you sound advice, with the exception of two points, one of which Rodney covered.

The other one is response number 3. It IS true that hiv is a difficult virus to transmit and more so from a woman to a man. However, time exposed is not necessarily significant. If you have actually been exposed to hiv, it doesn't really matter much if that exposure lasted five minutes or five hours. A shorter exposure time might lessen the risk, but you can also become infected from a short exposure. On the other hand, you can also be exposed many times and not become infected. Unprotected intercourse is a game of roulette - one that has very high stakes. Be smart - don't gamble with your health again.

You absolutely need to use condoms for intercourse, every time, no matter how long the intercourse lasts, no exceptions. You cannot go by what you think you know about a person's sexual history, how healthy they look, or what they think they know about their hiv status.

You need to be using condoms for anal or vaginal intercourse, every time, no exceptions until such time as you are in a securely monogamous relationship where you have both tested for ALL STIs together. To agree to have unprotected intercourse is to consent to the possibility of being infected with a sexually transmitted infection.

Have a look through the condom and lube links in my signature line so you can use condoms with confidence.

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.

Ann

obodyboardo:
Thank you everybody. Thanks for the encouraging words. 

Ive read some of the other threads here in the forums and wow, Morgan, Ann and a few others are really providing some invaluable information/advice. It is definitely appreciated.

I think im going to steer clear of the home test and just wait to have blood drawn at the clinic back home. I'll be sure to post my results here in a few months. Thanks again.


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