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Author Topic: Worried about exposure  (Read 2069 times)

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Offline JustJ

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Worried about exposure
« on: January 31, 2011, 02:45:59 PM »
First off, thanks for this forum. This has been a huge help in preparing for the news I think may come. I was really clueless about HIV. But my story is on New Yearís I had unprotected insertive anal with a guy I found out a week later was HIV positive. The unprotected portion was brief.  I got freaked out after about a minute and put on a condom, but the exposure was still there. Anyway, he says he is undetectable which I assume is true, but who knows.

So what happened is about 10 days after this, I started having a penile discharge. A few days later I had some mild muscle aches. I went to the doctor, found out itís gonorrhea. Did the round of antibiotics. First ever STD, woo hoo.  So even though the unprotected was brief, I still managed to catch an STD and I understand that increases the risk of HIV transmission.

I havenít had any other symptoms of HIV infection which kind of gave me some hope. However, this past week, my lymph nodes have gone crazy. I have two painful swollen nodes at the back of my head. The rest are just painful, not swollen. Neck, collarbone, underarm, off and on throbbing. And itís all on the right side, weird.

Iíve tried not to write in needlessly with every little ache, but Iím worried now. My question is would this be typical of ARS? Iíve read that the nodes shouldnít be painful during ARS. And is it common to not have any other symptoms besides the problem with the nodes?

I have two interviews this week so Iím gonna wait to get tested Friday, but I donít wanna go crazy between now and then.       

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Worried about exposure
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2011, 04:33:41 PM »
JJ, nothing  you are reporting symptomatically is HIV-specific, but you need to know that neither the presence nor the absence of symptoms will ever tell you anything accurately about your HIV status. Only an HIV test can give you that answer when it's taken at the right time.

You would be better advised to wait a little longer and do your first HIV test at 6 weeks after the risk. If you test negative at 6 weeks then the likelihood is that you will continue to test negative. All but the smallest number of those who are going to seroconvert will have done so within 4-6 weeks after an exposure. Assuming you test negative at 6 weeks, you need to re-test at 13 weeks for a final, conclusive result.

Although your incident was risky, the insertive partner is at significantly less risk than the receptive one. Also this was a single and relatively brief incident. That's all in your favor to ultimately test negative.

Your having contracted gonorrhea does NOT mean you were at greater risk for HIV. If when you had the risky sex you already had an active case of gonorrhea, that would have made you more vulnerable to HIV because it would have meant your immune system was down. But having contracted it during the risky incident is differnt than having had it previous to the unprotected sex.

Hopefully you will scoot by safely this time. If you symptoms persist that is something to discuss wtih your doctor. For future reference you need to wear a condom everytime for intercourse. No exceptions. Condoms provide very effective protection and whoever is inserting needs to be wearing one.

Good luck to you on your tests.
Andy Velez

Offline JustJ

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Re: Worried about exposure
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2011, 08:07:58 PM »
Thanks for clarifying that about the gonorrhea Andy. That makes me feel alot better. Hopefully this will be a lesson learned.

I'm a little confused about transmission. I know there are times when a negative bottom receives ejaculate from a positive top but doesn't become infected. I don't understand what happens to the virus once it enters somebody's body. Does it just "die off" if it doesn't find what it's looking for?

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Worried about exposure
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2011, 08:53:35 AM »
It often happens that someone has been "exposed" but that the necessary connection for infection just doesn't happen for anyone of several reasons -- a strong immune system, etc.

That's why a period of time is allowed before testing to make sure that enough time has been given to be certain that seroconversion has not happened. The average time to seroconversion is 22 days. All but the very smallest number of those who are going to seroconvert will do so within 4-6 weeks after an exposure. 
Andy Velez


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