[Question #3148] HIV testing advice

39 months ago
Hello, Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question. It means a lot.

I am a 21 year old male in the US and I am heterosexual. I have had sexual encounters and I will describe them thank you so much for answering with your knowledge. My main worry is if I need HIV testing.

I have not had penetrative sex never put my penis inside a vagina or butt. 

--I have tongue kissed about 15 women

--I have been given oral sex (blowjob) by 2 women

--with 1 woman, I fingered her (inserted my fingers into her vagina) , also, with this woman we both took our clothes off and she sat on top of me and grinded her vagina on the outside of my penis. "outercourse" "nude frottage" basically she rubbed vagina across my penis but my penis never went inside. Her wet vagina was grinding on my penis but my penis never was inside of her vagina. This lasted about 2-3 minutes. 

This was about 6 months ago.

That is all I have done I have no std symptoms but I am very worried I could have contracted HIV can you please asses my risk and tell me if I need HIV testing. 

Thank you so much.

H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
39 months ago
Welcome to the forum and happy new year. Thanks for your question. It came in while I was logged in:  most questions don't get nearly real-time replies!

This is a topic I know something about. Note the authors of the CDC guidelines on HIV testing:  https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5514a1.htm  

From a medical or risk standpoint, you don't need HIV testing. HIV is only transmitted by direct genital-genital or genital-anal contact, almost always requiring penetration. The risk from oral sex or any kind of oral contact may not be zero, but it's close:  there are no proved casesof HIV transmission from mouth to penis, or by kissing, and no known cases by cunnilingus (oral-vaginal sex) or by fingering or other hand-genital contact. In addition, HIV remains rare among young women (and even most female sex workers) in the US, so it is unlikely any of your partners in the above activities had HIV. Accordingly, you were not at risk for HIV from sexual events described and do not require testing.

However, one of the main points of the CDC guidelines cited above is that every person in the US age 13-64 should be tested for HIV at least once, regardless of risk. This is because some people deny known risks (which probably doesn't apply to you) and because of other, unknown exposures (which is unlikely in your case, but perhaps not possible to exclusively rule out). Since you apparently have never been tested, you should do it someday, perhaps when you have your next routine medical appointment for any reason. 

So it's up to you. If you decide to be tested at this time, you can be confident the result will be negative. There's no way you acquired HIV from the exposures you have described.

I hope this information is helpful. But let me know if anything isn't clear.

HHH, MD

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39 months ago
Happy new year Dr. H. Thank you for responding to my question so quickly, it really helps with anxiety.

Thank you for your assessment. I promise that I have not left anything out in my description of my sexual history. Also, I have been tested for STD's and hiv about 1 year ago and was negative. 

The reason I chose to write you and ask a question is because this morning I randomly received a text message from an anonymous service that said "one of your sexual partners has recently tested positive for an STD. You should seek testing" Now I did research into these kinds of texts and apparently anyone can just input anyone's number into this website's service and it will automatically send that number this text. 

Again I am was fully truthful about my sexual history but this text is driving my anxiety off the charts. Can you please give some analysis to this? Thank you so much.  I guess assuming one of the partners in my first question was positive? 


H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
39 months ago
The text message may have been legitimate. Public health departments do this quite commonly, although most probably provide a phone number or other contact information. There also are legitimate anonymous services. So one of your partners mentioned has been diagnosed with chlamydia or gonorrhea; this seems more likely than a scam. But almost certainly not HIV or syphlis, because of how rare they are in young women. Some health departments or other services would't inform partner unless there had been vaginal or anal penetration, but others may not make much distinction about it; or they leave it up to the patient, and your possibly infected partner may (like you) not completely understand what sorts of contact are risky.

Nevertheless, for the reasons above I am confident you have no infection, and based on the exposures described, I see no need for testing. But you are free to do it if the negative results will help you move along. You might contact your local health department and tell them about your text message; they might be waiting for your call!

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39 months ago
Thank you again Dr. H, your insight is beyond valuable and I truly appreciate it. I will use my 3rd question to inquire a but further, and I thank you for your response. 

So, I searched the number that the text message came from and it was a service called stdcheck a website anyone can visit and simply input anyone's number into the field and the message will get sent. So it is not a public health department or anything like that - It is either a prank/scam or legitimate - I think someone my assumption is a past "partner" voluntarily inputted my number in that website box and had that text sent to me. So I'm worried it could have been any one of the encounters I mentioned in my first question. I am just so worried it could be HIV, but you are saying regardless of anyone's status, the encounters I described were zero risk? No matter what?

Also, I never experienced any ARS symptoms, and the encounters happened 6 months ago, I have not even gotten a cold or sore throat. Is this a good sign? How can some people get ARS and some not?

I would sincerely be so happy if you could explain perhaps physiologically how nude genital vagaina/penis grinding without penetration is not bad, is the skin of the penis a mucous membrane or only the little hole at the tip? Sorry to pry.  

Lastly, I have just begun a new relationship with a woman from my school, am I safe to proceed to engage in intimate activities with her? 

Thank you so so much for the analysis of this entire situation and the fundamental consideration of my sexual history I provided in the initial question.  I am quite worried about HIV as many people on this site seem to be.

H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
39 months ago
I have heard of STDcheck but not personally familiar with it. My understanding is that it operates as you imply, as a way for infected persons to anonymously inform their partners.

But that mean HIV. I've given you all the reasons that's very unlikely and that this far more likely reflects a diagnosis of gonorrhea or chlamydia. 

The world's busiest HIV/AIDS clinics have no patients who did not have unprotected intercourse, despite the obvious fact that contacts like yours are exceedingly common. The biological reasons don't matter. Even with unprotected vaginal sex, the average HIV transmission risk is under 1 chance in a thousand.  Perhaps it will also interest you, and reassure you, to know that in the 14 years I have been answering questions like yours in this or other online forums, not one person has ever turned out to have caught HIV from an exposure they were concerned about. The same is true of all the patients I've cared for in my STD clinic over the years:  nobody with an exposure like yours ever turned up positive for HIV. 

You have a responsibility to not panic or otherwise react emotionally. However, I now do recommend you go ahead and get tested for STDs (urine gonorrhea/chlamydia test, blood tests for syphilis and HIV) -- not because there is significant risk, but because your anxieties obviously are not going to be resolved only by expert advice. This is going to eat at you until you have been tested and negative. You should do it in person, not by an online lab or similar anonymous service. Visit your local health department, or otherwise find an expert resource, and get examined and tested in person. Apparently you're a university student, right? For reasons that are quite obvious, the student health service probably is highly experienced in these matters and that would probably be a good resource.

In the meantime, stay mellow. You don't have HIV, and almost certainly no other STD either. 

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39 months ago
Thank you. I know very well that this is a Q&A service not a counseling service or anything similar and I apologize for asking emotion containing questions. Thank you for the feedback and considerate response. 

It would mean a lot if you could address the questions I asked, perhaps out of generosity. If not I completely understand and I wish you a wonderful new year. Thank you for contributing to this site.