[Question #993] Follow up to question 952

52 months ago
Forgive my anxiety-driven questions but I'm at the end of my rope here and would appreciate a little more reassurance.  Again, I hope I k ow these answers already, but...
I know you've said no testing and no worries about unprotected sex with my wife.  However, after reading everything on your forum that I can related to my incident, I'm convinced I'm having symptoms.  And, I think I've read that "no testing is necessary unless symptoms develop." I'm trying to assure myself that if there was truly no risk, then these symptoms can't possibly be due to that.  I realize in my current state that I'm more attuned to these symptoms, but I don't know f high anxiety is the culprit original I'm the ONE person who is going to get hiv from a no risk exposure.  I've tried to comfort myself by reading and re-reading everything you have answered, but unfortunately, I'm here again.  I believe I'm going to be the one who is infected even after your reassuring words I've seen that no one in here with a question has ever turned up positive.
Symptoms:  minor sore throat 3 days after incident...still a little sore today...(1 week after exposure)
Headache
Dizziness
A few times in early evening before dinner a little shaky and nauseous 
White tongue here and there
Some skin rashes but I'm on vacation at beach and these could be heat related
I'm sorry to be so much trouble, but I'm going crazy here.  Just wondering if original "no test, no PEP, and safe to have sex with wife is still what you would say?
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
52 months ago
Sorry to see you back. I'm afraid you're barking up the wrong tree, though. As you recognize in your opening words, your problem is one of anxiety, i.e. an emotional reaction to no risk situations.

As for "I'm trying to assure myself that if there was truly no risk, then these symptoms can't possibly be due to that", this is an oxymoron:  the one sentence contains the question and the answer. Based on the information in your other threads, you indeed had no exposures that could have given you HIV; THEREFORE it is impossible that any symptoms you have can be due to HIV or other STDs from those events. I agree with the replies you had from Dr. Hook and would suggest you re-read that discussion, concentrating carefully on every word.

As clearly stipulated on the forum's introductory pages, we do not provide direct medical care, i.e. no attempt to diagnose anything. While I can assure you that your symptoms are not suggestive of HIV or any other STD, I will not speculate on other causes; that's for a doctor to do in person. However, I will say that all the symptoms you describe are consistent with the physical manifestations of anxiety or stress.

In summary, the anwer to your closing question is yes:  I agree with "no test, no PEP, and safe to have sex with wife...."

I am not going to repeat any answers you have already had, so if you have any follow-up comments/questions, make certain they do not repeat ones you have already asked. This site is not a substitute for professional counseling, which you may need to help get you beyond your apparent conflicts about your regretted sexual decision. I suggest it from compassion, not criticism -- but also from medical knowledge that simply hearing the facts and our opinions still another time is never a fix for fears like yours.

Best regards and good luck--  HHH, MD

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52 months ago
I can't thank you enough for your quick and helpful reply.  This isn't the first time you have probably saved my life, but I'll try to make it the last time!  You and Dr Hook probably don't realize the blessings you guys are, and as I told him, I thank God for you both every day.  I do feel better after hearing from you.  I agree I need help, and I'm not opposed to seeking it out.  I just wanted to make certain there was nothing at all to worry about on the hiv front first.  My logic was that if I had hiv, then the counseling would be a waste since that's my main concern.  Of course it's regret, guilt, etc, but it's an abject fear of hiv more than anything else. I figure I deserve whatever happens to me due to my foolish actions, but I just had to know my wife is okay.  I'm rambling here, so forgive me.  I do feel better and am trying my best to convince myself not to test, bother you again , etc.  Oh...side note and I'm sure it makes no difference, but I meant to ask if the symptoms were ARS or hiv...not just hiv.  I don't know how to thank you enough, but please know there's a guy out here feeling considerably better thanks to your taking your time to save him!  You're a saint, and I mean that sincerely!
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
52 months ago
Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad to have helped. But if you find these worries creep back, please do talk to your primary care provider about referral for counseling.

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52 months ago
Last one I promise!  I keep forgetting to add what I'm scared now may change yours and Dr Hook's opinion of my risk.  For quite a while, I've had what appear to be zits on my scrotum. They come and go and I never give them much thought but I just read that "lesions on the genitals increase hiv risk."  I do shave my genitals weekly, but I don't know if that causes this or not.  I'm just worried that I should've included that info in first threads to see if that would make a difference.  Also, while I don't think I had cuts in my hands, I have lousy cuticles and frequently t hangnails.  I had also just shaved before the incident. Would that provide a risk?  I guess I'm just asking if there's ANYTHING that would change your assessment regarding my incident?  I don't know why I keep forgetting about the zit-like bumps, but after thinking about it, I'm worried again.  If they were present, which they probably were, would this make he incident a risk??  Are bumps like that signs of hiv?  Sorry to be such a pest but I guess I just want to know if there are any factors that would change your opinion?  I'm sorry if leaving out that zit part makes a difference and apologize for not thinking of it sooner.  Thanks as always and please don't be angry for my error here!
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
52 months ago
No STD causes the sorts of scrotal skin bumps you describe. My guess is they are either folliculitis from shaving or entirely normal skin glands, which are easy to see on every man's scrotum, especially if the skind is stretched. Whatever the cause, nothing like this would increase the risk of HIV or other STDs.

Take care and stay safe.
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