Any Doctors? Very worried: HIV Exposure.

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by GossipGirl, May 28, 2010.

  1. GossipGirl macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2009
    This might not even be 'allowed' to be discussed here, if not, I apologise. I was a member of MacRumours some years ago and a heavy poster here, for one reason or another, I left.

    I had a lot of support here with other problems, and saw the same with others. With that being said, I was hoping for the same this time around.

    I am a homosexual male, 21, from the UK, in good health.

    Prior to this, I had 2 sexual partners.

    There was a gentleman I began seeing April/May of this year. One night, we engaged in an unsafe 'act'.

    I wouldn't call it unprotected 'sex' as there was no ejaculation, however he did put his penis inside me for 2-3 minutes. This wasn't planned - I made him stop, and he realised just what he was doing and how risky it was.

    The next day I completely freaked out and left. I went back to speak to him, and he informed me of the following:

    - He has had 8 sexual partners in his life (he's 32)
    - He's in fantastic physical shape, professional sportsman
    - He was with his first partner for 10 years, and they have a 6 year old daughter together (he's monogamous)
    - When his last partner broke up with him, he told him that he had cheated on him with multiple partners. This scared my 'partner' to no end. He went a month later for a full battery of tests, with 2 follow ups, 3 weeks apart. He told me he was clean on ALL accounts.

    I am scared to my witts end. I don't sleep, I think about it constantly, every time I see anything associated with sex and blood I just freeze up and think 'Oh G-d.. what if'.

    For the past few weeks all I have done is read articles online. I have gathered that:

    - Being a 'top' is safer than being a 'bottom'
    - Being circumcised is better than being uncircumcised (as a top)

    I was the recipient, he was the top. So, from my point of view, him having 8 sexual partners in his entire life, some of which are male, some are female, always being the 'top', and being circumcised - he's had a fairly low exposure 'chance'.

    For some reason, I am thinking from the point of view that this person IS infected with HIV - even though he has sworn to me time and time again he's not, encouraged me to take tests whenever possible over the coming weeks to re-assure myself, and even rang me when I was in the Doctors surgery asking if giving his name, address, and clinic used would help. He has been very co-operative, and I see no reason for him lie. He has repeatef himself a hundred time to me, and to be honest, its got to the stage now where its silly - I'm treating him like he is infected.

    Logically, he does not have it, and I am not infected, chances are against him having it. But its scared me so much that until a Doctor tells me 'negative' - my mind is in overdrive.

    The whole thing lasted 2-3 minutes, his penis was covered in thick Vaseline, not a normal lubricant, and he has very little pre-come anyway, with a huge barrier like Vaseline, that might also lessen the risk of anything 'transferring'. But again, he's told me he's negative - he has a daughter to think about, he doesn't engage is risky sexual behaviour, and we are still in 'friendly' contact now, even though things didn't work out romantically.

    What worried me was that he'd had a test a month after him and his ex split up, then 2 follow ups. He didn't know whether the 2 follow ups were for HIV or general check ups. He said he was tested for everything: blood samples, anal and mouth swabs - the works. This was a month after exposure, with 2 follow ups at 3 weeks intervals, as stated.

    Since having the test (if he is to be believed?) I am his only sexual partner.

    Now my question is this:

    2.5 weeks after this incident, I tested negative for syph, hep B, HIV (for what its worth) and I still waiting on the chlamydia test.

    June the 8th will be just over 1 month since the incident. If I am tested for HIV then, using a standard NHS antibody test, how reliable will that be?

    Waiting 12 weeks is impossible - I won't last. Everyday I am feeling my glands under my arm pits, my testicales and throat looking for swelling (as I have been told these are symptoms of a HIV infection), every time I get a slight headache, my mind is spiralling 'you have it, you have it'.

    Again, I'm acting like he's some evil fiend who has made up some story to make me feel better. He's told me he's tested, he's told me he's clean - but its not enough for me.

    I'm really sorry to rant but I hope I can have some opinions and hopefully re-assurance, and that a test a month after exposure is reliable (and negative!)
  2. davidwarren macrumors 6502a

    Aug 28, 2007
  3. ComputersaysNo macrumors 6502


    Apr 15, 2010
    Getting HIV is pretty difficult, even with unsafe sex. I understand that you are worried, and i can't make that feeling to go away but do some more research on HIV. That will give you some rest.

    And even carrying the virus still doesn't mean you have aids.
  4. GossipGirl thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2009
    Not that I want this up to discussion, but if I had HIV, I wouldn't live with it.

    I know things such as viral load etc affect how likely you are to be infected with it. And compared to something like Hepatitis B, it has a lower rate of infection. Hep B is 100 times more infectious.

    From what I have found out, there are between 3 and 4 million gay men in the UK. There are an estimated 30,000 gay males who are HIV+ in the UK, so this makes my chance of exposure low - but I'm just freaking out beyond belief.

    The partner in question is a nice guy, and has no reason to lie - I just can't seem to accept it.

    From a medical point of view, someone who knows the ins and outs of HIV risks and exposure, the statistics and figures to back it up, how risky was what happened and how likely am I to be infected.

    Also, as stated, how reliable would a test be after a month? I have read reports from 90% to 97% but my local GUM clinic are very unhelpful and just say 'we advise 12 weeks'.

    I have already had one test, 2.5 weeks after exposure, which was negative, for what its worth. I should imagine thats a 45% (?) rate of reliability if the reliability of a months test is to be believed.
  5. iBlue macrumors Core


    Mar 17, 2005
    London, England
    I know it's easier said than done but you've got to stop stressing out about this. For one thing, there's nothing you can do even if you were exposed or infected. I don't have specific figures for you but the chances seem pretty low from what you described. Besides, you said yourself you have no real reason to suspect he is lying. I've known a few people in my lifetime with HIV and they were pretty honest about it knowing just how serious it is. I cannot fathom any of them lying to someone they've been with about it, especially someone who they're still on good terms with.

    It sounds like nothing short of a few more negative tests will ease your mind though. I hope that you can try to stop driving yourself mad over it in the meantime. In all honesty if this were the type of thing to bet over, I would absolutely bet on you being okay considering everything you've mentioned.

    Fingers crossed!
  6. GossipGirl thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2009
    Thank you, iBlue. Last time I was registered here, I remember you being lovely then as well. Great to see you're still knocking around :)

    Exactly. My non-logical mind is reacting like this: he's a monster, he's lying, he has HIV, you're effed.

    Logically: An estimated 1% of UK gay men have HIV. He has a daughter to worry about and doesn't 'throw himself' around, despite being very attractive. He was in a monogamous relationship for 10 years. He's had 8 sexual partners, which IMO, is low. He's only ever a top, he's circumcised. So many things in my favour than against me. I'm just scared. He encouraged me to get tested if thats the only thing that will ease my mind, offered to call his clinic for copies of his tests. I've just been SO scared by it that I'm assuming the worst when, tbh, the worst seems pretty impossible.

    Also, this was him getting carried away, in the heat of the moment - its not something either of us instigated. And sleeping with someone in the UK, if you're at risk, and not telling them about it, is a criminal offence. So, yeah. :/
  7. benthewraith macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    Miami, FL
    Are you including the 70% likelihood that HIV seroconversion would give you flu-like symptoms and have you had the flu recently?

    And at this point, can you even tell if the flu-like symptoms, if you had any, are related to HIV or the stress that you might be HIV+ is causing you?

    Stop worrying about it. Making yourself sick with worry isn't going to solve anything. In fact, the lack of sleep you're experiencing can make you immunocompromised and make you more likely to contract HIV.
  8. GossipGirl thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2009
    I don't have any flu symptoms. But I'm constantly asking myself 'do I have a headache? Is my throat dry or sore? Are my glands bigger?'.

    I'm driving myself nuts.

    I've just read on another website which basically disregards the other one I read and there are in fact 3.6 million gay people - not men - in the UK.

    So lets split the gay men and gay females in half and say there's 1.8 million of each.

    There were 46,000 HIV+ men in the UK June 2009.

    So thats a.. 2.5% risk?
  9. iBlue macrumors Core


    Mar 17, 2005
    London, England
    Aw, thanks. :eek: :)

    It's understandably scary but listen to your logical mind and try to take some comfort in you having pretty good odds here, all things considered.
  10. GossipGirl thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2009
    I just hope he's being honest and not lying to make me feel better and that I d not fall into that 2.5%.

  11. Xfujinon macrumors 6502

    Jul 27, 2007
    Iowa City, Iowa
    I am a medical doctor in training, I'll do my best to answer your questions.

    First and foremost, it sounds like you are taking steps to both educate yourself and to get tested. Both of these are advisable.

    Receptive male intercourse is associated with the highest risk of transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The probability of transmission increases with many of the factors you mentioned above. From a statistical standpoint, even with all of the increased risk factors, the transmission risk is believed to be about 1-2% per contact with an infected person. The risk can be increased significantly (sometimes as high as 20% per contact) if either the contact or the recipient has a coexisting sexually transmitted disease (such as Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, genital Herpes, chancroid, Syphilis, etc.), has a high viral load (they have more virus in their blood, semen, etc.), or is currently in the acute phase themself. Testing for these conditions may be necessary, both for yourself and your partner. Your provider will have a better idea of what to look for after a history and physical exam.

    The best course of action for you at this time would be to see a health care provider and tell them what you have told the forum. They will likely give you a blood test looking for HIV virus in your blood. It can take a few weeks or even up to a few months for this to show up. Sometimes this first blood test can come back positive, but this may not mean you have HIV since the test also comes with a certain probability of being wrong. Your provider will then order a second test which can better "confirm" the results of the first test. If both of these are negative, you can be pretty sure you don't have HIV.

    Look for any flu-like disease symptoms, as well as diarrhea, weakness, nausea, and swelling of the lymph nodes ("glands") near your groin. Many persons (about 75%) will have this "acute retroviral syndrome" within a few weeks of contracting HIV. The symptoms are very nonspecific, however, so you should not worry if any one or even a few of them turn up. If you are concerned, speak to your health provider and seek further testing. Sometimes a substance called "p24" antigen can be used to ascertain HIV positive or negative status at this time.

    If it can be done, try to get your partner for that night tested as well. Have an open and frank discussion about why you want this done. Clear communication is very important at this time.

    This can be a frightening experience, and although it isn't really a reassurance, realize that your odds of contracting HIV in the manner you described are quite low. Protect yourself in the future with a barrier method, such as a condom, and encourage this practice with any future partners.

    You are welcome to PM me if you would like to have further discussion. In the USA anyway, I am bound by confidentiality laws. However, your best option is to see a provider in Britain as soon as possible.
  12. barkomatic macrumors 68040

    Aug 8, 2008
    I think you are going to be fine. Based upon what you have described, I think there is a low probably that you have contracted HIV--especially if he didn't ejaculate inside of you. Now, not impossible--just a low probability.

    There is an especially sensitive HIV test (I can't remember what its called, sorry) which my doctor told me is about 90% accurate even after 2 weeks of the incident. It's expensive but generally covered by insurance--ask about that if you really think you need it.

    Also, there is a procedure called "post exposure prophalaxis" in which a person who believes they were exposed to HIV can actually receive HIV medication which eliminates the virus before it has a chance to take hold. It has to be taken within 72 hours of exposure--but keep that in mind in case you have another one of these events where you know the other person is infected.
  13. leekohler macrumors G5


    Dec 22, 2004
    Chicago, Illinois
    Darlin'- let me tell you somethin'. I lived through the 80's and survived. It's not as easy to get HIV as you think. It's also not that hard either.

    I can tell you this, and I'm not trying to brag, just trying to make you feel better: I have slept over over 100 guys- 20 of them the year I came out alone. I'm HIV negative, 43 years old and perfectly fine- never had a single STD. Be careful and practice safe sex every time. I understand you freaked, but I think you're fine.
  14. GossipGirl thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2009
    Thank very much.

    I have already been a GUM Sex Health clinic in the UK and have had negative tests for HIV (after almost 3 weeks. I have been told after 4 weeks, the test is 90% reliable. Is this true? This was a standard antibody test, which some physicians recommend to have after 12 weeks), as well as negative tests for syphilis, and hepatitis b. I am waiting on the chlamydia test result. I was not tested for gonorrhoea as they only had female physicians on the day who would not see male patients.

    What else should I be tested for? I have another HIV test, gonorrhoea and a Hep B vaccination on June the 8th.

    My partner told me he was clean, and I am confident in what he says. I do believe him, I should have no reason to doubt him, but I still have an underlying fear, naturally.

    Since he was given a clean bill of health, he told me I am his only sexual partner.
  15. barkomatic macrumors 68040

    Aug 8, 2008
    Pfft! Never believe that.

    Again though, I think you are fine. It's good that you are concerned about this--so many younger people who weren't around during the 80's and 90's don't take HIV seriously anymore.
  16. GossipGirl thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2009
    From what he says, he's HIV negative. I have no reason to doubt him, but in my mind, I'm just totally freaking in case he is lying to me.

    I haven't slept with a HIV+ person and worried, I have slept with someone who, from what he says, is negative and clean. I'm just always safe - and after this time, even though it wasn't intercourse, just a poke to be crude, it frightened me to the core.

    Not ejaculating does obviously reduce the risk, but pre-come carries it anyway.

    In the US its called the NRA test I believe.

    Here its called the... P24 antigen test, I think. We have a national health service in the UK, no insurance - which has its pluses and negatives (no pun intended)
    If only I had known about this.
    I had no idea until the following week.

    I hope so Lee, really I do. I used to like speaking to you here under my old account, I'll inbox you if something arises where I need someone who is comfortable talking about this and well informed.

    Every single partner you've slept with, you've never once had a slip up, thats made you worry sick like this?

    Eurgh, I feel like an idiot even being in this position. WHY DID I EVEN GO THERE THAT NIGHT. ARGH.
  17. benthewraith macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    Miami, FL
    PEP is not 100% effective.
  18. GossipGirl thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2009
    I do believe him, I think. We are still in contact, and he put up with literally a week of me hounding him, asking him really intimate personal questions most people would probably never think of in my situation.

    He's 32 and was in a 10 year monogamous relationship with a child - having 8 sexual partners, excluding me, I think that adds up.

    He commutes over 2 hours either way each day, so 4 hours, and 10 hour working days, he doesn't have the time to slut it around. (I hope).

    G-d I really hope I'm negative on this 4/5 week test.
  19. barkomatic macrumors 68040

    Aug 8, 2008
    Don't get me wrong, he could very well be telling you the complete truth. I don't think you should drive yourself crazy at this point trying to figure out if he was lying to you or had HIV. However, when having sex with someone (relatively) new, I think its best to assume they've aren't just sleeping with you--for the sake of survival. People are notoriously shy about discussing their sexual histories early on. Do you think you're going to keep seeing him?
  20. GossipGirl thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2009
    When he found out how worried I was, he was very, very upfront and honest.
    No. We are still 'friends' though and said anytime I want to go and visit etc, I'm welcome. We text last night for a while, and he called me the night before.

    He's a nice guy. This is what I mean. Its like I've separated 'him' from 'bedroom him' and I assume the guy in the bedroom has HIV, and the guy outside of the bedroom is honest and doesn't.

    Its scared me so much that I've put idea's into my head - of course there's a risk he's lying about being tested, but then he'd also have to run the risk of being in that 2.5% who are unfortunate enough to be positive, then I'd have to be on the bad side of things and risk catching it from the incident, even though a lot more have done a lot worse.

    Er, yeah.

    I guess my only question now is this: am I right in thinking an antibody test in over 90% reliable after 4 weeks, as read online?
  21. spencers macrumors 68020


    Sep 20, 2004

    Believe the test results and MOVE ON.
  22. GossipGirl thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2009
    They are not 100% reliable until up to 6 months, but mostly 12 weeks.

    Some places say they are 90% after 4 weeks.

    Mine was after 2.5 weeks - I'd be an idiot to believe them and move on.
  23. AppleMatt macrumors 68000


    Mar 17, 2003
    No, the risk isn't 2.5% (that's the % of HIV+ men according to you). To calculate the risk you also need to take into account probability of transmission, comorbidity (see above) etc.

    There's absolutely no way I could calculate the risk, but I do know your method of calculating it is misleading you.

  24. GossipGirl thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2009
    I meant a 2.5% risk of being intimate with a gay man who is HIV positive.

    Re: "according to you" see here and here.
  25. eawmp1 macrumors 601


    Feb 19, 2008
    1) Your risk of becoming infected, given the history, is negligible
    2) The tests, while not 100% in the time frame you've given, when added to the negligible risk, bing your chances of having contracted HIV to almost zero
    3) Hopefully you will channel you angst into better preparation/prevention in the future (however, nature does not allow for adequate blood flow to the brain and the genitals at the same time)
    4) Never assume anyone tells the truth in the bedroom
    5) If you are so paralyzed by this scare, perhaps considering some counselling may help you move on.

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