[Question #3297] Risk/Over reaction

38 months ago
Good Evening,

Mid December I received a massage. The place was slightly questionable in regards to cleanliness. The masseuse was of Thai decent and female. She stayed fully clothed entire time(long pants and colored shirt) and I kept my boxers on. I often have small cuts on my hands and arms from work (construction).  17 days after came down with mild flu fever body ache severe congestion. Lasted 5 days with diarrhea for 4 days prior to onset.  I became worried but told myself it was a no risk event and brushed it off. How ever do to a one time sexual encounter over a year ago where I ended up having a dozen 4th gen tests and two rna all neg and out two 11 months, I have developed an obsession with HIV.  So I ended up having a 4th gen test at 33 days after massage it was negative. 

My 4 year old daughter has acquired molluscum contagium in the past week and it brought back my nerves. Long story short should I test again post 6 weeks, or just accept this as a mental problem and seek therputic help? A friend referred me here and I appreciate your response. Sorry for the length.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
38 months ago
Welcome to our Forum.  I'll do my best to help.  My sense is that you have a heightened sense of anxiety and some bad luck.  Hopefully what I am about to say will help you move forward without further concern.

The massage you describe was a no risk event.  It is quite unlikely that your masseuse had HIV and even if she did, HIV is not transmitted through touch.  HIV is transmitted only through DIRECT sexual contact and injection of infected material deep into tissue.  Many of out clients worry that superficial scratches and cuts could provide an entryway for HIV but that is not the case.

Your bad luck got worse when you got the flu.  I am sure you know that early in HIV infection a syndrome called the ARS can mimic the flu and vis verse but I can assure you that persons with the ARS always have positive HIV tests from soon after their flu-like symptoms begin onward.  Thus, your HIV test at 33 days have PROVED that your flu-like illness was not due to HIV and provides an more than 99% assurance that you did not acquire HIV.  Please remember that the flu is particularly widespread this year. 

Finally, I also know that when you google molluscum, you see that, in adults, it is seen sometimes in persons with HIV.  Molluscum however is mostly a disease of children, spread through causal contact.

From all that you have told me, I am completely confident that you did not acquire HIV through the massage you received.  There is certainly no medical reason for testing again.  Hopefully the explanations I have provided will help you to move forward.  The only additional advice I can offer to you is to stay off the internet because there is so very much mis-information there it will only serve to make you nervous.

If any of this is unclear, please feel free to use your follow-up questions for clarification.  EWH
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38 months ago
Thank you Mr Hook,

I appreciate the detailed reply. It does not leave much room for confusion unless I let my mind get the best of me. What I took from your comments was, 
1) event was of no risk and is there is no real possible mode for transmission
2) my test was around 99 percent accurate at the time taken
3) a no risk event coupled with a negative 4th gen test (taken at a adequate interval) adds up to...move on with my life I am not infected lol.
Let me know if I miss understood?

Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
38 months ago
Your summary is right on target and correct.  There really is no reason for ongoing concern.  Time to move forward without hesitation or concern.  Take care.  EWH
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38 months ago
Sorry to be back,

Happened to weigh myself today. I have lost somewhere around 6 or 7lbs. I'm not sure when it started. I'm of thin build already. Does this change anything in your assessment? I realize this is the end of my question, and the end of all questions having to do with this exposure. Thanks and have a great day.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
38 months ago
No, weight loss is a non-specific finding.  If you were nervous/anxious and worrying about this, a natural reaction would be to eat less and then you would loose weight.  This does not change my assessment or advice in any way.

As you point out and as this is my 3rd response, this completes this thread which will be closed shortly.  final advice, please don't worry.  All is well.  You are OK.  EWH
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