[Question #1774] Terrified of possible hiv infection

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87 months ago
Good day doctors.  I am a 45 year old straight male and I had a "hookup" with a lady in a hotel bar.  I did not know this woman and she said she was a guest there as I was.  

One thing led to another and off to my room we went.  We had unprotected sex (vaginal and oral) for an hour or so.  AFTER the fact we went back to the lobby bar and we were discussing more about our personal lives and then she revealed to me that she was a "professional."  HOLY GOD.  Yep, she said exactly that, and she went on to say that she used that hotel to meet with her clients but the night had been slow with no business and she needed sex.  

This happened 22 days ago.  Three days after this meeting,  I came down with horrible flu/cold symptoms.  Fever, sore throat, insane sneezing for several days, post nasal drip, massive nasal discharge (was greenish/yellow for a couple days), body aches etc.  I am better but still have these symptoms (mild now) almost three weeks later.   No vomiting, rash or diarrhea at all.  Just like a nuclear powered head cold/flu.  I have read that flu like symptoms are indicative of hiv infection and that I need to wait three months for testing.  

I am googling myself to death and am really terrified.  What I read is really confusing as the data is conflicting from site to site on my chances of infection.  One site mentioned that my chances go up by over 10 times because she was a sex worker.  Really?   So, what are my odds of infection here?  Does the fact that I am circumsized really reduce my risk?  I have had no type of lesions in my genital area at all and no swollen lymph nodes (I read that is a real indicator).  

I have worked myself into a real stress over this, to the point of not functioning properly while waiting for the "window" period to be over so I can get a test.  

Thanks in advance for any answers you give.  
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Edward W. Hook M.D.
87 months ago

Welcome to our Forum.  I'll do my best to help.

My first advice is to stay off the internet.  I can assure you that going to the net will only needlessly amplify your anxiety and fear as much of what is there is taken out of context, mis-interpreted or just plain wrong. 

Second, your symptoms are not those of ANY STI, including the ARS associated with recent HIV.  They are they symptoms of an "every day" upper respiratory tract infection that folks get while traveling.

Third. please know that most commercial sex workers do not have HIV and most exposures to infected persons do not lead to infection.  At this time you can go get tested for gonorrhea, chlamydia and trichomonas with a urine specimen, for gonorrhea with a throat swab and syphilis with a blood test and expect reliable results, particularly given your lack of symptoms.  A 4th generation HIV blood test will not be completely accurate until 28 days following exposure but at this time would detect the majority of infections. We recommend AGAINST getting blood tests at this time in your situation as the test will not be helpful and has a fair chance of being falsely positive in this situation.

I hope these comments are helpful.  EWH