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Author Topic: High risk encounter - worried sick  (Read 2302 times)

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Offline preciouslife

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High risk encounter - worried sick
« on: March 21, 2012, 02:08:42 PM »
Hello everyone,

Apologies for the length of this post.

I have spent the best part of two days reading through this forum and I must say it is things such as this that give me faith in the human race. I sometimes forget how many good people there are out there who are willing to help. You are very special people, never lose sight of that.

Getting to the point, I am a 23 year old uncircumcised, heterosexual male living in London. I had a high risk encounter with a sex worker in Hong Kong 25 days ago and I am worried sick. I cannot even begin explain how this encounter has affected my life. I am here to seek your thoughts, experience and counsel. I really appreciate your time and anything you can contribute.

The encounter was with a Thai sex worker I met at a bar in Hong Kong while very drunk. I took her to my hotel room and we started having protected sex. Given my inebriated state I was not really 'performing' and so what follows may be the single biggest ever mistake of my life. I slipped the condom off and had unprotected intercourse with her for what I estimate to be no more than 30 additional seconds. I feel like crying when I think that those 30 seconds could, to a large part, dictate the rest of my life.

I have been worried sick ever since, but after confiding in a friend after the two week mark, I started feeling a little bit better, albeit with the worry still hanging at the back of my mind. I was finally quite positive that all would come out fine and that I would start a new life involving myself more in charity and helping others in general. But things have changed a lot since.

Three days ago, at the 23 day mark (Monday), my worst fears materialised. I woke up feeling very fatigued despite a 7.5 hour sleep the previous night. I drove to work as usual but had to return home by the afternoon as the tiredness got too much. I hit the sofa right away and slept on and off all day up until a few hours ago (Wednesday afternoon), a total of about 3 days (bar a 3 hour visit to the local sexual health clinic).

Diarrhea, loss of appetite, severe fatigue, increased heartbeat, and a constant grumbling stomach were all prominent symptoms throughout these three days. I might still be suffering from all of the above, especially the diarrhea, but right now I am certainly more 'switched on' than I was this morning, my stomach has stopped grumbling, and my appetite is slowly returning.

Yesterday, on Tuesday morning, I went to the local sexual health clinic and did a full STD test, including a rapid HIV test.The rapid test came back negative, but after 3.5 weeks I know this is pretty much meaningless. The other results are due on Fri/Monday.

Firstly, it feels good to get this all out, but what I would really appreciate is your thoughts on my symptoms and my level of risk. I am a fit 23 year old lad and I cannot ever remember being 'out of it' as much as the past three days. That is what is most worrying for me.

I live alone and there is no one I can talk to about the issue at the present time. I would really appreciate some feedback.

Thank you so much.

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: High risk encounter - worried sick
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2012, 04:26:59 PM »
I am sure I am repeating what you have already read on this forum, and apologies in advance for that :)

A) Your risk was real, but not as high as it cold have been. HIV is more difficult to transmit from the penetrated partner (in your case a female) to the penetrative partner.

B) The vast majority of people seroconvert within 22 days of exposure. Your test at 3.5 weeks is a GREAT indicator that you will continue to test negative after three months.

C) Given the great emotional weight you indicated in your post, it is no shock that you feel fatigue, have diarrhea, and a loss of appetite. Stress does ALL these things. That having been said, symptoms or the lack thereof are of almost zero use in determining HIV infection.  We don't usually discuss them here for that very reason.

Given your testing history chances are really really good that you will continue to test negative over this event.

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline preciouslife

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Re: High risk encounter - worried sick
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2012, 03:23:23 AM »
jkinatlMany thanks for taking the time to post and add your thoughts. No matter how many times one reads other threads, it's always nice to get a direct answer. I really appreciate it.

As for the rest of the board, my main issue at the moment is getting through the next five weeks. I know it is very likely that I am + given my symptoms on the 23rd day, the day I was most likely to show symptoms. It would have to be a hell of a coincidence for what happened to have happened just by pure chance given my track record. I find it very hard to accept that a 30 second encounter might dictate the rest of my life, especially given how I have always tried to live life in the right way. It was only my second time ever having unprotected sex and both occasions were following removal of the condom.

Have any of you got suggestions as to how I can get through the next five weeks? I have a number of social activities planned, such as returning home for easter to see my family and also flying to Italy to see some friends. I'm too distraught and emotional and can't find it in my to enjoy anything right now. Something as small as a nice view or a chat with a family member is almost enough to make me cry. Life really was not supposed to be like this.

Thank you.

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: High risk encounter - worried sick
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2012, 09:16:37 AM »
And while your head is busily working overtime and self-diagnosing yourself, I will just interrupt that craziness to say there is nothing in any way HIV specific about the symptoms you are reporting.

Fortunately fears are not facts. Given the brevity of your single possible exposure the odds are very much in your favor that you will ultimately test negative. But this is not something to debate. You're going to do a 6 week test shortly. The negative result that I expect should be encouraging.
Andy Velez

Offline preciouslife

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Re: High risk encounter - worried sick
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2013, 10:52:46 AM »
Dear members of this forum,

I am back here almost exactly a year to the day I was potentially exposed to this retched virus. I say 'was potentially' exposed because someone up there decided that I should be given a second chance. I promised myself that I must come back here after a year and leave a note for all those who are in despair, who are struggling with fear of what they might have contracted.

I wanted to come back here because I feel my experience might be able to pull some people out of a hopeless state the might find themselves in. I say this because I myself was on the verge of ending it all. The tumultuous experience I went through was unlike any other tragedy I had ever experienced - it changed my life. I get emotional just thinking about it, even a year on.

Without going into details I just want to say that I had almost every symptom in the book, they all showed up at the times they were expected to show up and whilst I could not get 100% confirmation about whether or not I was infected, I was 99.9% sure. I was alone in a big city with hardly any friends and no family, I cried many times and cried hard. I was so certain that I had been infected. I found support from total strangers, amazing people that I never knew existed. They guided me and supported me as best they could.

When the time came for tests, and the first ones came back negative I at times cried in joy and others cried in fear, fear that the test was wrong. When the second third and fourth test also came back negative, my whole view on life changed. I had changed as a person.

Till today I cannot explain how I came out of the experience an uninfected human being (I still struggle to say it), and although I still sometimes struggle to come to terms with spirituality, I believe someone somewhere decided to spare me.

The main moral of this revelation is not to waste your time with a potential tragedy that ended well, but rather, and mostly, to give hope to all of you out there who might be going through what I went through. I had about 6 out of the 7 most common symptoms (I shudder to mentioned them) and it was basically all over for me. Please, please, please, please, please, do not decide you have what you think you might have before you have scientific proof to that effect. The mind is incredibly powerful.

If this message helps at least one of you then I would be extremely happy.

Guys, girls, please cherish life, enjoy it as much as you can, help people and don't take life too seriously.

Keep strong, keep healthy.




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