[Question #433] HIV fingering symptoms testing

34 months ago
Hi dr Hhh or dr Hook, 
On dec 12th I engaged in a sexual act of digital fingering with a girl I've known for 10 months. Before this I asked her if she had any current Sti which she said she doesn't and she's been testing. The fingering was very brief and I don't recall any active cuts on my fingers. 2 weeks later I devolved a sore throat for 1 day and I felt a bit ill but it went away week after that I got really sick and had a fever of 99.4 from what my machine stated with body aches and chill. That lasted two days a week after that i developed diarrhea and red bumps on my body. I don't have a fever now and I don't have   Flu symptoms just stomach issues and no appetite .. I know there has never been a case of HIV from this and I know it's very rare . However since then I have been really worried and contemplating testing. Was I at risk? Is testing needed? I also asked my partner again about her status and she said she's clean and will test to prove it but I'm a very anxious and paranoid.  I don't want to give in to testing because I've done my research and I want to simply get over my HIV fears in life. However it's hard when these symptoms are playing games with my head. I really want your expect advise to move on.  Your honest opinion and advice is really needed right now.  Thanks 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
34 months ago
Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your question, and also for doing your own research on it.

You have correctly analyzed the available information. HIV is simply not transmissible by fingering. Transmission requires that lots of virus have access to certain cells that typically are in the bloodstream or otherwise internal and not accessible. And you are correct that there has never been a reported case of HIV transmission by fingering or other hand-genital contact. And the chance your partner had HIV is almost zero.

As for your symptoms, they are not typical for a new HIV infection. It sounds like a garden variety viral infection, nothing more.

Having said all that, I don't think you should look at being tested for HIV as "giving in". Most people in your situation are going to be reassured much more effectively by negative test results than by reassurance from this forum or any other expert. We can rely only on scientific data and statistical probabilities, whereas testing takes it out of the realm of probabilities and proves that someone is or is not infected. No matter what I say, you're going to worry that you might be the rare exception, until you are proved to not have HIV. Enough time has passed for a conclusive test (4 weeks for a "duo" or "4th generation" test for HIV antigen plus antibody). You could also accept your partner's offer to be tested, but that's probably less important than being tested yourself.

This doesn't mean I really believe there is a chance you were infected. I do not. But just practical advice.

And that is my "honest opinion and advice", which is all you'll ever get from me or Dr. Hook!

Best wishes--  HHH, MD


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34 months ago
Thanks for the detailed answer dr. I think my issue I have anxiety over this issue. You're not the only one who said its not a risk. I also tested two months ago for a exposure that wasn't a risk either. I think my issue is believing facts and advice. I don't want to result to testing because it's feeding my fears...  My last question would be if came to your office would you recommend testing or would you say there is no way no how move on with your life and stop worrying about HIV. Thanks 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
34 months ago
My advice would be the same in person as it is on this forum. However, if you were actually in the clinic, it would be a simple thing to draw a blood specimen, so I might urge testing even more strongly. But still strictly for its reassurance value, not because I believe there was any risk. 

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34 months ago
Thanks Doctor!  I just don't why see I would take a test for something that's no risk I guess.  II was able to stop by cvs got a oraquick and it was negative at 5 weeks. Does that say anything? If my symptoms were  due to a infection would I test positive. Thanks 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
34 months ago
Thanks for the thanks. I'm glad to have helped.

The oral fluids test usually would be positive at 5 weeks, but it can take up to 3 months for a conclusive result. (All other current tests are conclusive by 4-8 weeks.) Had you been seriously exposed, I would advise another test at 3 months.

In reply to "I just don't why see I would take a test for something that's no risk":  That's the whole point of my advice up til now. But you're really talking from both sides of your mouth:  you "dont see" the need, but you did it anyway! And you keep asking about it. Seems to me you need the reassurance of a conclusive negative test. If not, it's fine with me, and it's your decision. But if you decide to seek a definitive test result, have another oral fluids test at 3 months, or visit a doctor or clinic for a conclusive blood test without having to wait that long.

That completes the 2 follow-up comments and replies included with the posting fee, and so ends this thread. Best wishes and take care.

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