[Question #5101] Risky activities

23 months ago
Hi doctor,

I am bisexual guy and all my activities limited to getting fingered, masturbation( getting semen on my skin), rubbing penis on my face but i dont do oral sex and kissing. I need to know if iam safe regarding HIV. After each incident i feel worry although i know i didnt do any thing risky. I always feel symptoms due to analyzing my body like burning sensations, getting rashes from time to time, itchy skin, swollen glands. How can i know if my symptoms are real. My wife tested hiv negative during he pregnancy is this a good indicator that iam negative. I know you will tell me to test but am afraid. 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
23 months ago
Welcome back to the forum. However, this is pretty much the same as your previous question several months ago. The risk of any and all STDs, including HIV, is very low (virtually zero in most cases) in absence of penetrating sex. If a penis doesn't enter a partner's vagina, rectum, or mouth, generally there is no meaninful risk and no need for testing. STDs are not transmitted by kissing, hand-genital contact, fingering, etc and rarely through body rubbing. The only exception for the latter is direct genital-genital or genital-anal rubbing, which can risk herpes, HPV, and maybe syphilis. But casual, brief contact of that sort is risk free.

Your symptoms are typical for anxiety magnifying trivial symptoms or even normal body sensations that otherwise you would not notice. The STD symptoms that matter are visible sores or skin bumps; and discharge of pus or mucus from the penis or sometimes the anal area, if the anus was exposed. But most HIV infections cause no symptoms.

Given your sexual lifestyle and your wife's negative test, it is very unlikely you have HIV. But if you remain concerned about it, the way to know is to be tested. I have no patience with not being tested for fear of a positive result. It isnt the test that gives someone HIV; you have it or you don't. If you do, you have an absolute responsibility to yourself and others -- your wife and other partners -- to know it. And when people delay testing for fear of the result -- not just for HIV, but think of women avoiding mammograms or people avoiding colonoscopy -- anxiety always declines after testing is finally done, even if the result is positive. Clearing the air and knowing for sure is stress reducing.

So suck it up and just do it. I will have no other comments or advice for you until and unless you return to this thread (within 4 weeks) to report your HIV test result. Based on all you say, you definitely can count on it being negative.

HHH, MD
---
---