HIV Prevention and Testing > Am I Infected?

Need piece of mind

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Before sharing my story, I want to say what a wonderful forum this is. Great job to all the wonderful work you all are doing and the ability to advise people during a difficult part of their lives.

For the most part, I am simply looking for piece of mind on here. I am a 35 year old make and for 15 years I have suffered through major sexual addiction. I am not entirely sure what lead to this, but I was sexually abused 1 time at the age of 9. My main addiction has been visiting massage parlors and prostitutes. Over the 15 years I have paid for sex probably hundreds of times and it has really become an emotional and scarring issue for me. I am currently seeking professional help and therapy to correct my addiction. Thankfully every time I got tested for STDís and HIV they all came back with negative results. Well, on June 9th, I took a blood test for Herpes and the next day I got a call saying that my result was positive for HSV-2 (genital herpes). Although I donít seem to get the traditional outbreaks that most people do. At most, I have had a mild rash and light burning sensation in my genital area.
Anyway, my last sexual encounter with a sex worker was on May 9th. There was both oral and vaginal intercourse, and a condom was used for both. I donít know how long I have had genital herpes for, as itís well known that people can have it for years and never know or mistake it for something milder. My concern is that I recently learned that people with genital herpes have an increased chance of acquiring HIV infection than others. Now by wearing a condom, I know my risk was made lower of catching HIV, but I had one other concern. On my inner thighs, I have several stretch marks due to being slightly overweight. The skin in these areas feels thinner and softer than other parts of my body. If by chance the sex worker I was with did indeed have HIV, would the stretch marks and my positive HSV-2 diagnosis make my HIV risk higher even though I used a condom correctly and through the entire sex act?
I have had 2 HIV tests since. The first was a blood test taken 4 weeks after the encounter. Not sure which blood test, but it was done at a free testing clinic. Those results were negative. The 2nd test was a rapid Oral test done at the 6 week mark. Those results were also negative. I know the testing window these days is 12 weeks so I will follow up then, but should I feel pretty good that my 6 week result was negative? I have not developed any symptoms indicating an infection expect for burning skin mostly on my legs. Sometimes it spreads to other parts of my body, but I am going to assume that this is a result of my genital herpes flaring up. Over the last few days I have developed some swollen tonsils, but itís been over 6 weeks since my encounter and Iím going to assume that this is also unrelated. Thanks again for your thoughts and be well.

Joe K:

Nothing you did put you at risk for HIV infection.  You used a condom for penetrative sex and oral sex is not a risk for HIV infection.  Since you did not have a risk, I would accept your 6 week test as valid.  You can test at 12 weeks, but you never had a risk.

As for skin, HIV can only latch onto certain cells and our skin does not contain those type of cells.

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.  Some of the other STDs can be present with no obvious symptoms, so the only way to know for sure is to test.

Use condoms for anal or vaginal intercourse, correctly and consistently, and you will avoid HIV infection. It really is that simple!


Thanks Joe! Appreciate your thoughts. Have a great day.

Joe K:
You are very welcome.


My story is that I have had multiple encouterns with CSW's but all vaginal intercourse was protected with a condom every single time. Last encounter was May 9th.

Just a few quick questions.

How accurate is the Elisa test at 4 weeks post exposure? Had one done and got a negative result. I know 12 weeks is the window, but curious to hear how accurate this test is at 4 weeks.

Also had a rapid test done at 5 weeks which was also negative.

I am going to do one more rapid test at 8 weeks and then at 12 weeks for conclusive results. Appreciate your comments.


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