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Scared of hiv after unprotected oral sex and developed a pain under the armpit

Question: 

I had an unprotected oral sex on 12 February and a week later I had developed a dry cough , fatigue and muscle stiffness with no fever and two days ago I had developed a pain under my armpit with no lumps and swelling and a pain on my chest muscle , before oral sex I had a bleed from my gum due to wearing of my braces while brushing my teeth in the morning and I had an oral sex at night and I had swallowed the cum since I had heard that the stomach enzyme would kill all the virus. Do you think I migh get hiv infection . I have not when for an his test since since it is not three month,

Answer: 

Hello,

Thank you for contacting AIDS Vancouver. It sounds like you are concerned about having acquired HIV after experiencing some unpleasant symptoms, I will go over the risk of transmission from your encounter and provide you with some information about testing to help address your concerns.

Giving unprotected oral sex is a low risk activity, which means there are a few reported cases of infection, mostly under some specific conditions. Receiving oral sex is a negligible risk activity which means that while transmission is theoretically possible there has never been a reported case.

You mention bleeding gums, and it can be confusing because you will hear that gum problems can increase the risk of transmission. When this is said though it is referring to very damaged gums, in people with gum disease for example. A little blood from brushing your teeth several hours before will not increase your risk level. If you are concerned, most experts agree that waiting fifteen minutes from brushing your teeth before engaging in sexual activities is enough to bring your risk back to the usual level.

You also mention swallowing to kill the virus using stomach enzymes, I want to clarify that you do not have to swallow, you have digestive enzymes in your saliva that work to break down the virus.

If you are interested in ways to reduce the risk of transmission, a condom is a great place to start as giving oral sex with a condom lowers your risk to negligible. Here is a link to a website with more ideas for reducing your risk of acquiring HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

Your symptoms sound unpleasant, and if the pain in your chest and armpit does not go away on its own you may want to visit a doctor. There are some problems with considering symptoms as a sign that you have acquired HIV: many people living with HIV do not experience symptoms, and many different viral infections such as the flu can mimic the same symptoms. So the only way to know your HIV status is to get tested.

Three months since your last exposure is when you can obtain a conclusive test result with a third generation ELISA test, the Rapid test or the fourth generation antigen-antibody tests. That being said, if you are concerned, these tests can detect 95% of new infections at 4-6 weeks since your last exposure. Your encounter was over 6 weeks ago so if you choose to take a test now the results will be a good indicator of your HIV status. Some experts consider fourth generation tests conclusive at 6 weeks rather than 12 though 12 weeks is the Canadian guideline.

So to summarize, your risk of having acquired HIV from this encounter is low but if you are still concerned you could obtain an HIV test now that would be a good indicator of your status. Your symptoms are not necessarily indicative of having acquired the virus. I hope that this information will help to reassure you, and that you feel better soon.

Best regards,

Alex

AIDS Vancouver Online Helpline
helpline.aidsvancouver.org
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