HIV Prevention and Testing > Am I Infected?

Again on Oral Sex

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scared_aussie:
Hello People,

I originally wrote this post on Healingwell and Dr. H.
I am not sure this is against the etiquette... but here it goes.
(Please keep in mind that I have no access to councelling, and that at the moment I am living about a meter away from my body - and there is a wall called "anxiety" between my mind and my body...

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I have already posted this somewhere else. However, this is more of a "user-orientated" forum, and... well, right now I don't have ANY access to councelling or psychological help. So, here I am.
I "fixed" the time frames a little bit. It's always a bit confusing...

On the 14th of August, I performed unprotected oral sex on a Panamian prostitute (20 minutes). Now, the last thing I want to do is put my partner's life at risk.

I spent a *long time* looking up on the internet risk factors etc. The reason why I am writing is because I believe I have all of the odds against me:

* I flossed 10 minutes before the episode (long story...)
* I had sore gums near my last tooth
* I was jet-lagged. I read that being jet-lagged lowers your immune system
* I have genital herpes
* I byte my cheeks with my teeth. It's a "habit" I've had for a long time.
* She was a prostitute; however, her HIV status was unknown
* The day after, she told me that she had a sore throat and hadn't felt very well the whole week.
* She didn't get especially wet during the episode; however, I didn't wash my mouth until the morning after.
* I was drunk. I read on the web that drinking alcohol increases the chances of infection
* She sent a message to my phone last week, saying "I am glad the test was negative. I am so happy for you. I love you lots, call me" (!) The message wasn't for me!!! I wonder who she was meant to send it to...
* Sex workers in Panama get tested weekly for STDs; however, apparently they don't do weekly HIV tests - it would be rather expensive, and there is the window anyway!

I talked to a local lab: they told me that they have the latest HIV tests (with P24), and that even after 2 weeks it is likely to give a positive result if I was indeed infected. They told me that I should go in 10 days (28 days after exposure) and then again for final confirmation after 2 months.

Questions:

1) Is that true that there are no "documented" cases of HIV passed on giving oral sex to a woman?
2) If I were infected, would I be the first one?
3) Given the circumstances, are my chances still good?
That article is what actually triggered my fear the day after.
4) Even if my chances are like 1 in 10000, it's still possible that I draw the "unlucky card" - right?
5) How long shall I have protected sex with my wife?

I am stressing out over this - a lot. I am finding it very, very hard to concentrate and to retain information. I have no access to counselling (I am still travelling). This site is my only harbour. I had cancer a while ago, and can tell you that fear of HIV is _worse_ than cancer. With cancer, there are (painful) cures. With HIV, it's like a slow death sentence, which is passed on to people in activities that are blissful otherwise. Also, cancer doesn't stop you from making love, and it's not infectious... HIV really is the worst thing ever, and I needed this exposure to realise it.

The story continues...

Even now, three and a half weeks after exposure, my armpit lymph nodes still hurt (they started 10/14 days after exposure) and I have had a sore throat for 10/14 days as well.

Since I had cancer recently and am now in surveillance (fun, uh?), I went to the doctor to get my armpits checked and I had an ultrasound: 4 lymph nodes in my right armpit, 2 in my left one. They are about 2 centimeters. It's not cancer, thankfully: the doctor said "You have an inflamation or a virus of some kind".

When he said "virus", I shaked.

There is some background info... I shaved my armpits without shaving foam about 4 weeks ago, just before the "episode", and applied deodorant. Could that be what "did it"? I mean, could the deodorant have caused the lymph nodes to swell?

Also, I am taking my HIV test on Monday, 4 weeks and 1 day after potential exposure, and I am frankly crapting myself. The test is latest generation, including p24. I realise that it's not conclusive. I will then take another test 6 weeks after exposure, once I am back home - since that test will be a latest generation one as well with p24, it should be conclusive.

The doctor in a forum said that my exposure was very little. I can't stop thinking that the "extenuating circumstances" could possibly make me beat the odds. Since I am traveling, I have no access to counceling nor anything like that. I am breaking down.

Help!
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Well, that's the post. As you can imagine, I have received several answers. The short version? "Don't even get tested. You don't have HIV. Get on".

I can't.

I feel that cancer really pusehd my sanity on the edge, and... well, this HIV scare finished me off. Everybody around me can see that I am just not happy, in a moment when I am supposed to be on top of the world.

My armpits still hurt. My throat is still a little sore (and it has been "a little sore" for 10 days).

I have some questions for you.

* Is a DUO test (P24/Elisa) at all conclusive after 4 weeks and 1 day? If I take anothger DUO test 6 weeks after exposure, and they are both negative, would they be conclusive?

* Do you know, or can you find out (calling a doctor?), for me, if shaving with a razon without foam nor soap CAN indeed cause my armpit lymph nodes to swell up like they did? I had ultrasounds, so it's not cancer... well, that's a start. Please please help.

* What would you do if you were me? I have no real access to doctors and counceling. I will have to pay *amazing* amounts of money for my blood work. I feel lost, insanely depressed and... well, I don't want to say anymore, but you can imagine

If this scare becomes just a "distant memory", well, I must say that I look up to every single HIV patient in the world more than ever. I am not able to deal with the thought of possibly have caught HIV. Some people here have it...! I know what's it like, waiting for stupid markers to be low and facing the nightmare of chemo if things are not-so-good. Well, guys, you win. I think the stress of seeing my CD4 go down would drive me to insanity. You are blessed by amazing minds, and infinite strength. You are definitely much stronger than I have ever been.

It's easy to "be happy" when everything is going well and the sun is shining. You are different. To me, you are like living boddhisatvas/angels with impossible strengths.

I could never be that strong.

Thank you.

scared_aussie:
Hi,

I forgot to ask another question...
Which STDs shall I be checked for? I guess I should check my throat for gonorrhoea? How is that done? Would a blood test do it?

THANKS!

james:
Hi scared aussie,take your time, one of the lovely moderators will be along shortly to asses your risk...i think you really are worrying too much...take deep breathes and relax...you will be good.

Ann:
aussie,

No hiv test is considered conclusive until 12-13 weeks after the event in question. The vast majority of people who have actually been infected will seroconvert and test positive by six weeks, with the average time to seroconversion being 22 days.

If you're worried about money, don't bother with Monday's test, wait until the six week point. You can get free testing at a GUM clinic, but if you use a GUM clinic at four weeks, they're not going to want to retest you again at six, they'll want you to wait for your conclusive 12 week test. 

A negative result at six weeks is an excellent indication of your actual status. However, this MUST be confirmed at the end of the three month window period.

Now saying all that, you didn't have a real risk of hiv infection through going down on a woman. The fluid that is known to be infectious is deep within the vagina, in a thick mucus surrounding the cervix. You are hardly likely to have been in contact with this mucus.

Also, there are over twelve different protiens and enzymes present in saliva that act to disable hiv and this is why becoming infected through giving oral is very rare.

The only reason I would suggest testing for you in this situation is for your own peace of mind, considering your medical history. Keep working with your doctor where your glands are concerned and yes, a reaction to deoderant can cause localised lymph swelling. Keep your hands off them because touching them all the time will make them swell and keep them swollen. Hands Off!

Ann

scared_aussie:



--- Quote ---No hiv test is considered conclusive until 12-13 weeks after the event in question. The vast majority of people who have actually been infected will seroconvert and test positive by six weeks, with the average time to seroconversion being 22 days.
--- End quote ---

OK. Well, at least it will be an indication...


--- Quote ---If you're worried about money, don't bother with Monday's test, wait until the six week point.
--- End quote ---

I can't... long story.


--- Quote ---You can get free testing at a GUM clinic, but if you use a GUM clinic at four weeks, they're not going to want to retest you again at six, they'll want you to wait for your conclusive 12 week test. 

--- End quote ---

Well, I will be back to Oz 7 weeks after exposure. The GUM clinin in Oz won't mind if I tested abroad! :-D


--- Quote ---A negative result at six weeks is an excellent indication of your actual status. However, this MUST be confirmed at the end of the three month window period.

--- End quote ---

OK.


--- Quote ---Now saying all that, you didn't have a real risk of hiv infection through going down on a woman.
--- End quote ---

OK.
My lymph nodes and my sore throat are always there, as a nasty threat... it's really stressful :-(


--- Quote ---The fluid that is known to be infectious is deep within the vagina, in a thick mucus surrounding the cervix. You are hardly likely to have been in contact with this mucus.

--- End quote ---

WOW. I never knew that. OK.


--- Quote ---Also, there are over twelve different protiens and enzymes present in saliva that act to disable hiv and this is why becoming infected through giving oral is very rare.

--- End quote ---

OK.


--- Quote ---The only reason I would suggest testing for you in this situation is for your own peace of mind, considering your medical history.

--- End quote ---

OK.


--- Quote ---Keep working with your doctor where your glands are concerned
--- End quote ---

Well, it's not cancer, which is a really good start.


--- Quote ---and yes, a reaction to deoderant can cause localised lymph swelling.
--- End quote ---

THIS IS SUCH GOOD NEWS...


--- Quote ---Keep your hands off them because touching them all the time will make them swell and keep them swollen. Hands Off!

--- End quote ---

Well, the skin is NOT irritated at all (is that a bad sign?). And no, I don't touch them at all. But, as I said, they really are very big, and they sort of "get in the way"...

I read a lot of your posts. I really look up to you Ann.

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