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    Worried about a possible exposure
    Mccdbz5 posted:
    Hello everyone. I just want to get some help and insight on a possible exposure I had. I had anal sex with a woman last night who I just met hours prior to that (no idea why I tried anal, but I never had before). Anyways, I was wearing a condom while I was having sex. At some point though, the condom broke open, and the head of my penis was exposed. She told me when she felt it pop and I pulled out immediately. Now, she told me she was clean and did not have sex with anyone unless they wore a condom and had no STDs, and I did not see any blood on my penis or her anus (though, it was dark, so I couldn't see if there was any on her anus for sure). Anyways, I woke up this morning with a sore throat already. From what I have described, is there a risk that I could've been exposed to HIV, assuming by some chance she had it? I'm trying to stay calm and what not but I am a bit nervous. When would be the earliest that I could take a test with an accurate result? Also, when I said I have a sore throat, even if I did get exposed, I wouldn't be seeing symptoms this early would I?
    georgiagail responded:
    Your risk would be, at the most (assuming she was HIV positive) extremely short term exposure from the torn condom. However, since you immediately withdrew it is highly, highly unlikely that there was any risk whatsoever.

    If you want the statistical risk (and many ask about this), the stats we use for unprotected insertive (you) anal intercourse is 6.5 per 10,000 exposures with a source KNOWN to carry the virus. This is assuming that the act was carried to completion and that your penis would have remained in the anal canal unprotected for quite a bit longer than it did. terms of stats...your risk would be less than what I quoted above because...1. the unprotected contact was, from what you describe, extremely short and 2. you cannot confirm your partners status.

    You are also correct that your sore throat the next morning has nothing to do with HIV symptoms. The first symptoms of HIV occur two to six weeks after transmission, not the next day.

    The recommended time period for testing is 90 days after a potential exposure. Screening tests look for antibodies the immune system begins to produce after transmission has taken place. By 90 days 99.9 percent of newly infected folks will have enough antibodies present to be picked up by current testing methods. However, most folks just can't wait that long. If they do their first test one month after a potential exposure, we use the statistic that 95% of newly infected folks will have enough antibodies present to be picked up by current testing methods. Thus, some will test at one month and retest at three months.

    Another option is to have your partner test. If her last partner prior to you was at least 90 days and she tests negative, she, of course, does not have the virus to pass on to you.

    I hope this makes sense.

    Mccdbz5 replied to georgiagail's response:
    It does, and I really appreciate it! This helps me feel a lot better about the situation. And I heard from a specialist that a good time to test would be after six weeks as well? How accurate are the tests at that point? And also, I see your username has Georgia in it. I'm assuming you're in Georgia? Because I was going to say I actually live in Atlanta, and if you know of any good places to get tested here that are also somewhat cheap as far as the price goes, that would really help me out. I got tested a year ago as part of a physical from my primary health care provider and I think it was a little expensive there.
    georgiagail replied to Mccdbz5's response:
    If a test done at 1 month is considered to be 95 percent accurate and one at 3 months 99.9 percent accurate, one at six weeks would fall somewhere in between these two levels statistically. Still an excellent estimate of ones status.

    Yes, I am in Georgia but not Atlanta. However, as a general rule, places such as Planned Parenthood and Health Departments (both of which tend to use rapid testing with results available in 20 minutes) are less expensive than going through a physician who will often send you to a lab for these tests.

    Keep in mind that the HIV rapid tests are FDA approved and are just as accurate as having blood drawn and sent off to a lab. The idea with the use of rapid testing (either by taking a sample through swabbing the oral cavity or through a drop of blood) is that often those who use Planned Parenthood or Health Department services might not return for their results so it is better that they stick around for the 20 minutes to get their accurate test results.

    Mccdbz5 replied to georgiagail's response:
    Sorry it took me so long to respond, but all of that sounds great! I really appreciate the info. Now, I do have a few more questions. It's now been two weeks since my possible exposure, and I'm starting to feel a little ill. My throat isn't exactly sore, but it's noticeable (sort of like an itch feeling), I'm feeling feverish, but without an actual fever as of now, and I'm feeling extremely fatigued, and my wrists and my joints in my fingers are hurting and feel stiff. Now I know you said symptoms start 2-6 weeks after exposure, but I'm wondering are these normally the type of symptoms you see this early after an exposure? I know most people normally see flu-like symptoms, but would any of these other symptoms fall under the early signs of infection? I'm a bit worried because I had the flu at the end of December, I had a cold about two weeks ago (the day after my possible exposure) that lasted a few days, so I can't see how I would be getting sick again with some normal illness. Do you think this could have something to do with anxiety as well? As I've said, I have been a bit worried these past couple days about the possible chance of infection. Any help is once again appreciated.
    georgiagail replied to Mccdbz5's response:
    I'm sorry but we don't attempt to diagnose HIV by symptoms, only by test results.

    Most folks who worry that an event may have left them infected get eaten up by anxiety (read a few of the previous posts) and it is very easy to then focus on "symptoms" that one would normally NOT pay attention to (i.e., a sneeze, a headache, a sore throat, feeling tired, a cough, an ache...just the everyday pain associated with, well, living) and become overly concerned that this MUST mean they are infected.

    For the VAST (and I do mean VAST) majority of folks who post here...even those who are absolutely convinced through symptoms that they "must" be positive, it is almost shocking to them to learn through testing that they are actually HIV negative.


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