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Author Topic: Did I Draw the HIV Unlucky Number?  (Read 3037 times)

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Offline AppleTree

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Did I Draw the HIV Unlucky Number?
« on: September 13, 2013, 01:15:33 AM »
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this. I'm really interested in getting a professional opinion about my experience, symptoms and reaction from the health care professional.

First of all, I've lived in Asia for almost 20 years and have occasionally visited CSW at a rate of maybe 3 or 4 a year. Since moving to Thailand in 2009, that number has gone up. As first, I was very committed to safe sex and wearing condoms at all times. In 2000, I experienced my first broken condom and the panic that followed. Now I look back at that and realize the panic was unwarranted. In the next few years, I experienced a few more broken condoms and subsequent negative tests.

After reading websites like this and visiting with ex-pat old timers, I started getting the feeling that contracting HIV via vaginal intercourse was extremely rare. I've seen '1 in 1000 chance' thrown around and 'I've never seen anyone contract HIV from a broken condom'. Whether true or not, stuff like this really started to effect my sexual behavior (not placing blame on anyone but myself, mind you). It should be noted, I got herpes back in 1998 but have had no outbreaks in over ten years. I mention this because I realize my immune system is already compromised and yet have continued to have unsafe sex on rare occasions.

Anyway, on Friday, August 9th, I met a girl at a club here in Thailand. We hit it off and agreed to go to a hotel (later figuring out she was a CSW). Before sex, I showed her that I had my own condoms. We ended up going at it in a passionate way rather than sexual. She jumped on me without even messing with the condoms. After we finished, I asked her about her condom use and she said she always wore protection but didn't feel like it with me (whatever that means). She claimed she was HIV negative and was tested every two months.

On September 6th, she contacted me about getting together with her and a friend for drinks. I agreed. We all got considerably intoxicated and went to a hotel. Again, there was no condom use despite having them out on the table. I had vaginal intercourse with both girls.

Here's the question......I noticed early in the evening that there was a slight stain on the sheets which was of a copper color. I actually thought that could have been from me (dirty ass?...anything's possible). We all got in the shower and scrubbed before any action. I did perform oral on Girl #2 for about 5-10 minutes followed by vaginal intercourse. I took a shower afterwards and did not notice any blood on my body.

The next morning, Girl #2 says 'I'm sorry about the sheets'. There was a small blood stain in the sheets. She had started her period during the night. So, the stain on the sheet was actually her early spotting. I can only assume I had contact with her blood during oral and vaginal intercourse.

That morning, I joked about her needing to be a little more careful about safe sex. Her eyes got huge and said 'We didn't use condoms?!!' She was so drunk, she had no idea. I actually lied and said that we did as I assumed she was worried about pregnancy. Now I'm curious why she panicked like that.

Anyway, I didn't worry at all about that encounter. However, on Monday I started coming down with an incredible illness. Starting with swollen and sore lymph nodes and then fatigue. I have never experienced fatigue like this. I was assuming it was a viral infection from kissing. I didn't think symptoms could appear so soon after an exposure....but about August 9th?

Next came soreness, sore throat, muscle pain in my upper back and shoulders and a headache in the back of my head. No rash or fever so far.

Yesterday, after four days of progressive symptoms, I started to actually get concerned. I went to the local Red Cross HIV/AIDS Center in Bangkok. They conducted an HIV test which not surprisingly came back negative.

However, I really wanted to speak with a counselor about what I was experiencing physically. I'm not a panicker but it was exhausting just walking from the train station to the center. Something is sapping my strength. I told the nice lady very briefly about the bare facts....upsafe sex on those two dates with CSW involving blood. I then went into my symptoms.

She smiled, shook her head and cut me off. 'You have nothing to worry about. Those aren't signs of suroconversion. You don't have a fever (true) or runny nose. You must have something else. Your test is negative but come back next month for another test to be sure. You have nothing to worry about'.

Honestly, I was kind of surprised by this reaction. She's right about the fever....but I've read numerous times a runny nose usually does not go along with suroconversion. I understand trying to calm down patients but I was expecting a more professional discussion about the situation.

Any opinions on this? Thanks for your time. I really appreciate it.

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Did I Draw the HIV Unlucky Number?
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2013, 02:20:33 AM »
From what I gather, you had unprotected penetrative vaginal interocurse with a partner of unknown status.

If that is the case then you did have a risk and you do need to test.

Symptoms, or lack thereof, are mostly useless in diagnosing Acute Retroviral Syndrome.  We spend very little time discussing them here. Well, in all honesty, we spend a LOT of time tlaking about them here, mostly to reiterate that they vary tremendously from person to person and are not at all a diagnostic tool.

The earliest you can test is six weeks after the incident. That test result should be considered all but definitive. The global gold standard however is a confirmatory test three months past the incident.

"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

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Offline AppleTree

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Re: Did I Draw the HIV Unlucky Number?
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2013, 02:11:56 PM »
Just wanted to say how much I appreciate you taking the time to respond....and see your point concerning symptoms. I would imagine you guys get tired of responding to every panic case on the internet.

I've decided to visit a doctor tomorrow that specialized in infectious diseases based on a friend's recommendation. I've never been this sick in my life. It's like I have an incredible flu minus the fever. Odd. It's everything I can do to walk to the train station.

Baffled by this.

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Did I Draw the HIV Unlucky Number?
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2013, 04:18:14 PM »
Checking things out with your doctor is a good idea, Apple.

It is significantly harder to transmit HIV from female to male than the other way around. But is definitely a risk. Symptomatically I wouldn't call anything you are experiencing to be HIV specific.

You can test initially at 6 weeks after. If you get the likely negative result, then you can pretty much expect the same for a conclusive result at 3 months.

A serious red flag in your story is your having had a lot to drink and mixing that with casual sex. That is a dangerous mix to avoid in the future since it definitely too often causes safer sex to get dropped.

Good luck with your doctor and with testing.
Andy Velez


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