ZocdocAnswersCould I have been exposed to HIV?

Question

Could I have been exposed to HIV?

I recently had sexual contact with secretions and performed unprotected oral sex October 4th and a week later I had flu like symptoms that first started with a sore throat. Then progressed to headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. I have a persistent cough of white phlegm and when nothing's there to cough up. I still cough which irritates my throat. I was told it might be a bug that has been going around. I am going to get tested next month and then a couple of months after to be sure. I've read flu like symptoms if any start 2-6 weeks after initial infection but they could start a few days before that. I just wanted to know if there is a possibly I could have been exposed to HIV?

Answer

Anytime, you have unprotected sex with a new partner you should always consider testing for sexually transmitted infections. I would suggest that you schedule an appointment with her primary care physician. While this does not generally include oral sex in certain cases, it always includes any unprotected vaginal or anal sex. In your case I do agree with you getting tested for HIV, though I don't have any reason to believe in your case that you were absolutely exposed. I'll give you a few reasons for this. As you pointed out, one week it's a bit early start symptoms of acute HIV. However certainly is within the realm of possibility. The second reason is that a single sexual encounter with a person that is HIV-positive does not necessarily make you infected. For unprotected vaginal sex, the rate of transmission from male to female is something on the order of 1 to 100 or maybe even less. For exposure to oral secretions, the rate of infection is so low that we don't even have any numbers. If you were my patient, I would definitely test you for gonorrhea and chlamydia and HIV when the time is right. In addition, I would urge you to use protection every time you have sex with a new partner. This way you don't have to worry about whether not you were infected. Again, I would suggest that you schedule an appointment with her primary care physician.

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