[Question #1739] I need your help, Doctors, deadly scared..

45 months ago

Dear Doctors,

I am a 45 yo male, married , living in France.

I am deadly scared that I got hiv from recent events. Actually I am pretty sure I got it. I kindly ask you to help me to judge my conclusions.

I am uncircumcised, if it makes any difference. And I meet other males on internet for sexual dates mostly when I am on business trips in different countries.

I believed that the sorts of activities I do with other males are what I call “hiv safe sex” but now I am afraid I was wrong…

I did not have any sex dates in December last year. I had one in January (4th or 5th do not remember exactly) in a hotel in the US, then during the week 10-14 January in a hotel in China, then during the week January 29 - February 4 in a hotel in St Petersburg, Russia.

My symptoms, I cannot find any explanation to them rather than hiv, started on February 4th when I was travelling back home. It started with some pain in the upper part of my throat. Then two days later I got a fever up to 38C, which lasted for two days. Then it became normal. During this time the pain in the throat got bigger, the two lymph nodes at the neck became big and very painful to touch. Today (6 days later since the onset) I still have pain in the throat and pain in the lymph nodes. No other symptoms, nothing on my skin. There was a pain in the muscles during the days I had fever, but I am not sure related to it or just because I was travelling in the planes and carried luggage. My wife looked at my throat and so it was red, kind of inflamed, with some white dots on the tonsils. But ok, she is not a doc.

Activities I was involved with the different men were the following:

1. masturbate each other by hands with vaseline on my penis. Sometimes only they masturbated me.

2. one guy in China blow job me with condom on.

3. one guy in China gave me body massage with oil and masturbated me and rectal fingered my prostate.

4. I kissed with some of the guys in Russia

5. Some of the men tried to use their salvia on my penis as lubricate. But only once, because I immediately stopped them doing it. I am scared of oral sex…

6. One guy wanted to blow job me without a condom, bud I did not allow. He managed though to touch the stem of my penis and balls with his tongue. Then I stopped him.

7. I am sure I did not penetrate anyone rectum and no one penetrated me.

8. It is possible that some of their liquids (precum or whatever) came on my penis, because they used their hands to masturbate me and themselves.

9. Our bodies sometimes were in contact and possibly our penises touched.

That’s probably it. Also, I asked all of them if they had no hiv. They replied that they were not having hiv and that they tested regularly, but who knows L

I feel it is the end of my life, doctors.. I cannot imagine how to tell about the virus to my wife..

What would be your advice?

Thank you for your time. 

Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
45 months ago

Welcome to our Forum.  I'll be glad to comment.  having sex with other men met on the internet is, as you know, a risky practice which could lead you to meet partners who have HIV.  Even is such settings however, safe sex can keep you safe and the practices you describe are all safe sex (see below).  The flu-like illness you describe does have some of the characteristics of recently acquired HIV (sore throat with swollen glands, body aches, fever) but such symptoms can be caused by many common, non-STI, non-HIV viruses such as influenza.  when persons at risk for HIV with symptoms like yours have been studied, most such patients do not have HIV.  With regard to the specific practices you describe:

1. masturbate each other by hands with vaseline on my penis. Sometimes only they masturbated me.

HIV is not spread by touching or mutual masturbation, even when partners get genital secretions on one another.

2. one guy in China blow job me with condom on.

There are no cases in which HIV has ever been proven to have been acquired by receipt of oral sex, even when condoms are not used.

3. one guy in China gave me body massage with oil and masturbated me and rectal fingered my prostate.

HIV is not spread by massage or masturbation, as described above.  Each of the activities you describe here is a form or masturbation.

4. I kissed with some of the guys in Russia

HIV is not spread by kissing.

5. Some of the men tried to use their salvia on my penis as lubricate. But only once, because I immediately stopped them doing it. I am scared of oral sex…

During masturbation, use of saliva as a lubricant does not put you at risk for HIV

6. One guy wanted to blow job me without a condom, bud I did not allow. He managed though to touch the stem of my penis and balls with his tongue. Then I stopped him.

Still no risk for HIV as noted above.

7. I am sure I did not penetrate anyone rectum and no one penetrated me.

Good, penetration is needed for sexual transmission of HIV.

8. It is possible that some of their liquids (precum or whatever) came on my penis, because they used their hands to masturbate me and themselves.

See above, still no risk if their genital secretions got onto you during masturbation.

9. Our bodies sometimes were in contact and possibly our penises touched.

These are no risk contacts.

In summary, nothing you describe has placed you at risk for HIV and I if these were your only activities, I am confident  they did not put you at risk for HIV.  If your sore throat and symptoms were due to HIV, a 4th generation, combination HIV antigen/antibody test would be positive at this time.  You can prove that your symptoms are not due to HIV by being tested now.  EWH

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45 months ago

Dear Doctor Hook,

Thank you for your prompt reply which gave me some relief. If I may, I have a couple of follow up questions.

You mentioned that “if these were your only activities, I am confident they did not put you at risk for HIV”.

As far as I remember, I mentioned all sorts of practices I conducted during this and last month. I could forgot something important though. I know (I can swear to myself) that with any of them we did not have anal or oral sex (except the oral in condom I mentioned before). Once there were two boys in my room, they were having anal intercourse with a condom, and there was a blood on the condom afterwards. I did not participate in their intercourse. I was watching them. And I did not touch the condom. Anyway, it was 6 days before the symptoms began, so it could not be the reason for my illness, I guess. In whole my life I have never had any anal and oral sex with any man or women except my wife.  

Is there any other practices which I did not mention that could put me in risk for HIV and caused my symptoms?

Also, you seem suggested to me to test for hiv. Is this because of my symptoms which are very like HIV symptoms and there is a chance I am infected? Perhaps I misunderstood you.

I have flu practically every year, but this time the symptoms are different. Normally I would have a fewer for a week at least, and then my sore throat will turn into coughing and nasal discharges. But not this time. That is why I got myself convinced the symptoms are due to hiv.

Thank you.


Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
45 months ago

Having observed two other men having anal sex, even with blood present would not put you at risk.

I suggested testing for HIV only because it was my sense that you might appreciate the reassurance that a negative test would provide.  personally, from what you have said, I see no reason for concern and no reason for testing, unless you need the reassurance that a negative test would provide. 

Viral respiratory diseases can cause many different sorts of symptoms.  Most importantly however, what you describe does not suggest HIV.  EWH

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45 months ago
Dear Doctor, 

Thank you. I understand now your point about testing. 

I forgot to mention that I also performed anal fingering on couple of the men I had a contact with. I guess it wont change your assessment because it seems the only way I could get infected would be anal intercourse, if I understood you correctly. It looks like a simple rule for such a serious disease, and difficult to believe there were no exceptions in history.. 
I went to the CDC website which also mentions the following possibilities for infection:  


How common are they? I, for example, do not think I had broken skin, wounds, bleeding gums and sores in my mouth. But I cannot guarantee my partners did not have either. And when he or I fingered each other, it was a safe sex activity. Was it?

Also, if fluids like pre-cum, cum, could appear on my penis, its head, because the guy could use the same hand to touch his and my genitals. 

All these have never ever transmitted hiv even in a single case? Or it is simply unknown and therefore accepted as "impossible"? 

45 months ago

I have to add that since two days, while the pain in tonsils vanishes slowly (although there are some white and yellow sports visible on them yet), the pain in my mouth appeared. I have a very painflull tongue with spots like stomatitis and some parts of my dent are very sensitive and bleeding if touched. Stomatitis like spots can be seen on the dents as well. It is very painful to chew and to speak. 

Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
45 months ago

You are correct, that you performed anal fingering does not change my assessment of your risk- you are not at risk.

As far as the CDC is concerned, the possibilities you mention are theoretical and I have not seen a person who acquired HIV in those ways.  Please realize that the CDC must be conservative in its advice and that they are promoting safe, healthy practices which I support.  Knowing exposure in broken skin and body fluids contaminated with the blood of HIV infected persons probably does represent a very, very small risk and certainly does from a theoretical perspective.  On the other hand, that is not a major risk that should concern you.  In much the same way, there is a theoretical risk that you could be stuck by a meteorite falling from the sky today but the realistic risk of this happening is so small that it should not concern you.

The same is true for exposure to pre-ejaculatory fluid, this occurs regularly in cases of mutual masturbation which the CDC and I both classify as safe, no risk sexual activity.  I would not worry about the fact that a partner might have genital secretions of any kind on his hand when he touched your penis- this would still not be a risk for HIV or other STIs.

Sorry to hear of your stomatitis but my assessment remains the same- this is not representative of HIV or any STI acquired from the activities that you describe.

I hope my comments have been helpful.,  This ismy third and therefore last reply to these questions.  This thread will now be closed without any further replies.  Take care.  EWH 

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