[Question #2915] Worried/Eposure/Symptoms

41 months ago
I had protected intercourse (I used a condom) with a CSW approx 4 weeks ago.  I have since recently had a a very sore lower back and a dull aching pain in my testicles off and on over the past couple of weeks.  I'm feeling very anxious about possible HIV exposure after having intercourse and wondering If this pain in my lower back and aching in my testies would be a possible sign of HIV symptoms.  If so would it be a good idea to take an HIV test at this point because of this pain i'm feeling or is it to early?  Or I'm overreacting? 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
41 months ago
Welcome to the Forum.  Your question has several facets which I will try to answer.

1.  Your exposure.  Condom protected sex is safe sex as long as the condom is worn throughout sex and does not break (which occurs about 1% of the time- fyi, when condoms fail, they break wide open, they do not just "leak" a little so visible inspection is sufficient to determine if the condom worked).  Thus, irrespective of whether your partner has an STI of any sort or not, it is unlikely you were infected.  further, most CSWs do not have STIs and most exposures to infected partners do not lead to  infection.  This on the basis of your exposure, there is little to worry about.
2.  Your symptoms.  Neither a sore back, nor intermittent testicular discomfort suggest an STI.  Back pain is not a typical symptom of any STI but it is a symptom of tension.  Testicular pain can be caused by STIs but when they do, the symptoms tend to be continuous and progressive, not intermittent such as the symptoms you report.
3.  Testing.  Nothing you describe suggests and medical reason for testing for HIV or for other STIs however, if it would help relieve any anxiety you might have, testing is reasonable. At this time, at about 4 weeks, a combination HIV antigen/antibody test would detect over 98% of recent HIV infections and would provide definitive evidence of the presence or absence of bacterial STIs such as chlamydia or gonorrhea.  Should you choose to test, I am confident your tests would be negative.

I hope this information is helpful. If you have questions, we allow up to two follow-up questions for clarification or follow-up questions.  EWH
---