[Question #5948] Used someone else's sex toy; am I at significant risk?

17 months ago
I was with a guy and I ended up giving oral and used his sex toy anally. Assuming that it wasn't washed, am I at significant risk for getting HIV/other STDs and what steps can I take to mitigate that if that is so (I know that it wasn't used for at least 30 minutes before but I don't know if anyone else used it before that; I also won't be able to go to an emergency room for another ~16 hours to get anything (it's been ~48 hours since))?
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
17 months ago
Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your confidence in our services.

This was a no-risk event in regard to HIV or other STDs. A shared sex toy could transmit these infections if it had been used within the previous few minutes, i.e. if it still had wet genital or rectal fludis or blood. But once dry -- which almost certainly was the case more than 30 minutes later -- there is little or no transmission risk. I do not recommend any testing on account of this event. Whatever risk there was came just from the oral sex exposure. For that reason, you might wish to consider STD testing, although a better approach would be to ask your partner to consider testing; if he doesn't have an active STD involving his penis, then there was no risk.

I hope these comments are helpful. Let me know if anything isn't clear.

HHH, MD
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17 months ago
I’m not sure if I’m being paranoid, but I got what looks like the flu a few days ago. The headache has stopped but I still have the cough and a sore throat, and it looks like my hand has turned red with splotches of white (some of the lines on the edge of my palm and middle of fingers look a bit purple) (it looks a bit like the less severe cases of palmar erythema). From reading up, it looks like it could be a sign of acute HIV infection. I still haven’t gotten tested yet, but am I just being paranoid and identifying normal flu symptoms as HIV symptoms or should I now consider testing for HIV (if yes, when is the best time to get reliable results (assuming rapid oral or blood test?))
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
17 months ago
First, as I'm sure you understand, infections with garden variety respiratory viruses -- influenza, common cold, etc -- are far more common than acute HIV. Second, the timing is wrong:  acute HIV symptoms generally start within 10-14 days after exposure; 3 weeks is too long. Third, as best I can tell from your brief description, your symptoms were not typical for a new HIV infection. For example, acute HIV doesn't cause cough, and the sort of skin issues you describe aren't anything like the rash associated with early HIV.

Do not have a rapid oral test:  that's the least reliable of all available tests, not conclusive until 3 months after exposure, and even then misses a few infections. A blood test is always preferred when checking for HIV after a particular exposure. The rapid blood tess are equally valid as lab based tests; if you select an antigen-antibody (AbAb, "4th generation") test, the result will be 98% conclusive at 4 weeks and 100% conclusive 6 weeks after exposure. However, I would reiterate the main point of my initial reply 3 weeks ago:  the event described was zero risk for HIV.  From a medical/risk standpoint, you don't need HIV testing at all, although of course you are free to do that if the negative result will help reassure you.
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