[Question #171] Paranoid and Anxious

88 months ago
Hello Doctors,

I recently had my second child and am in a wonderful marriage. The new child, brought on terrible anxiety over an incident that happened over three years ago. From reading the many answers on medhelp and here, I understand my anxieties are probably not warranted at all. My hopes from asking the questions are to get answers that can put my mind at ease and allow me to regain my life. 

Three years ago, I had condom protected vaginal intercourse with my massage therapist. Leaving out details that don't matter, this is the only "risky" behavior that happened in that incident. Because of my anxieties I took the Oraquick at home rapid HIV test. The results were negative.

I guess the questions are;

1. Is this a no risk event? The condom was used correctly and did not break. I assume she has done this before and knows how to put on the condom correctly. (Also as a side note - she is still practicing her "massage" so I also assume the risk she had HIV 3 years ago is almost zero)

2. Is the negative Oraquick test at three years past exposure 100% conclusive. (No other sexual exposures since then except from my wife)

I know everyone thinks their experience may have a different answer. I can almost predict the answers, but feel I have them from experienced doctors directly to my case I will finally be able to put this to rest. I have had no symptoms of any STDs at any point.

I am hoping for as direct response as possible. I know just from statistics out there that the exposure is probably around 1 in 5 million or less -- but my mind has been telling my "what if" I'm the one.

Thank you in advance for your answer and time regarding my concerns/paranoia/anxiousness. 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
87 months ago
Welcome to our Forum.  I'll try to help.  Bottom line first- you can be entirely sure that the event you describe did not lead to HIV infection.  In terms of probabilities, your risk for infection was tiny.  Less than 1% of commercial sex workers have HIV, even if she was, the risk for infection from UNPROTECTED vaginal intercourse is less than 1 in 1000 and a properly used condom reduces that risk by close to 99.9%.  Now, your negative test PROVES that you were not infected.

Rest easy and try not to worry.  I hope this comment is helpful.  EWH
87 months ago
HIV was my main concern. You are telling me not only was it a basic no risk incident but the negative test is 100% reliable? I'm without a doubt HIV free? I know it's repetitive I just want to be clear before I move on and if the anxiety comes again I can reread your answers.

Also is the risk for other STDs from that incident extremely low? As stated originally I have had no STD symptoms in the past three years. 

Just curious, are all the at home HIV test are considered 100% conclusive after the window period (obviously directions should be followed exactly). Is the Home Access HIV blood test more reliable or just as reliable as Oraquick? I'm assuming both are considered 100% conclusive if tested after 3 months (in my case years later)

These are my last questions and curiosities. Again, thank you your time answering my concerns as well as the others on this site. The peace of mind is invaluable over unwarranted anxieties.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
87 months ago
 You are being a bit repetitive.  You are confident within all reasonable limits.  There is no ABSOLUTE in science so, just as I cannot absolutely assure you you will not be stuck by a falling meteor today, I cannot absolutely assure you that you didn't get HIV.  The odds of HIV, if anything, are probably lower.  

Same for other STDs.

Each of the tests you refer to has to pass the same standards at the FDA.  You can feel equally confident with either test.

I hope this comment helps.  You really have no reason to worry.  EWH
87 months ago
The test I took at three years past incident PROVES I don't have HIV? If the test is that conclusive I will stop stressing. Medically no need for further testing? The Oraquick and Home Access tests are as conclusive as a blood test I would get at a clinic?

Finally thanks again for your assurance that I have nothing to worry about. Doesn't sound like it has helped, but it definitely has.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
87 months ago
Einstein said that one definition of insanity is to ask the same question again and again and expect different answers.

One final time, your results are conclusive, you did not get HIV from the exposure you described, you do not need more testing!!!  If you cannot accept that, you do not need more tests, you need to seek professional help to address you pathological anxiety and guilt.  I say this out of concern for you.  

This will conclude this thread.  EWH