Subject:  Odds (1/18/02)

Q.      love your site. have already passed it on to many people. following is my situation. any comment would be helpful.

11/1 male has unsafe, vaginal sex with female; one time deal

12/20 male detects occaisional “irritation” in urethra; no discharge, no pain when urinating

1/3 male goes to doctor & free clinic both; tests neg for evidence of trich (urine under microscope at clinic), neg for chlam & ghon (swab at doctor & urine at clinic), and neg for syph (blood test at clinic)

1/3 doctor recommends HIV test; detects nodes in groin; states that this is not a worry given a possible infection in urethra (went to clinic for anonymous HIV test after visiting doctor; fund-cutting makes them unable to test hetero male non-drug hard feelings)

1/4 male begins to freak out in a major way

1/5 male self-diagnoses symptoms, including achy under arms

1/9 male takes anonymous HIV test; urethral irritation gone

1/16 HIV test results: negative

1/17 male awaits the close of 3 month window period to retest (around 2/1); freak out continues in a major way

1/23 male has follow-up appointment with doctor

A.      First off, glad to hear that you tested negative for those other STD’s.  I find it surprising that the clinic wouldn’t test you for HIV regardless of the fact that you are a heterosexual, non-drug using male, although a test at that point would have probably been a bit early anyway.  You had an experience that may have put you at risk for HIV, and they should have tested you.  Heterosexual transmission is the most common means of infection world-wide, albeit not so much in the United States.  Your negative test 10 weeks following your exposure, however, pretty much indicates that you were not infected.  When the CDC says three months, the primary intent is actually about 12 to 13 weeks.  Most people, if they are going to test positive, will have done so by one month, or four weeks, following exposure.  The three month recommendation is intended to pick up those individuals that, for whatever reason, haven’t tested positive by the one month marker.  Although 10 weeks is not definitive, it is a VERY good indication that you were not infected (I would give it a greater than 95% probability that the test was accurate).  In addition, the likelihood of being infected in one exposure is rather small as it is.  I would say you can safely stop freaking out at this point.   The symptoms you describe also do not really lead me to believe that they are in any way connected to HIV.  The time frame for your symptoms was not consistent with acute infection, nor were the symptoms you described really indicative of acute infection either.  Urethral irritation is not a symptom of HIV, although it is a symptom of other STD’s, but you have tested negative for all of those as well.  It sounds more likely you just had a urinary tract infection, which although not terribly common with males, does occur.  You also need to consider the likelihood that the woman you slept with has HIV in the first place.  What did you know about this woman?  Did she say she was HIV positive?  Does she have a tendency to have unprotected sex or were you a fluke?  Either way, it doesn’t sound to me like you were infected, and you should feel okay to move on with your life.  Go ahead and take the follow up test at the three month point, but I feel pretty confident that the result will be negative.  Best of luck to you, and play safe in the future!

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