Anonymous
Hello,
I've done protected (used a condom) oral and vaginal sex with a sex worker. I've had no symptoms of hiv whatsoever afterwards. I took 4th generation hiv test after 30 days exactly, and it came back negative. However, since we're entering winter season where I live, I got sick and experienced fever, sore throat, flu, cough. Everyone around me is sick and my friend got the same exact illness as mine. I have not used antibiotics to recover from this sickness. I'm feeling better now after 3 days and the fever is gone, only mild sore throat left.
Should I be concerned? I know that a conclusive test should be taken after 3 months of possible exposure, but in my case and my results, am I in danger?
Please help.
Thank you.
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Anonymous
Hello and thank you for using the AIDS Vancouver Helpline as a source of HIV/AIDS-related information.

First, protected sex with a condom is a low risk activity for HIV transmission. This means that there is a potential for HIV transmission because there is a potential for an exchange of body fluid, however there have only been a few reports of transmission attributed to this activity, usually under certain identifiable conditions (such as the condom breaking or being used incorrectly). From what you have described, it sounds unlikely that HIV would have been transmitted. I would like to commend you for using a condom, as this is the best way to protect yourself from STIs, including HIV.

Secondly, please note that there are no clinically-defined symptoms of HIV. This is because some people do not experience symptoms, and furthermore, the symptoms that you have described (fever, sore throat, cough) may be caused by any number of illnesses, including the flu or the common cold. The only way to know if you have HIV is to be tested.

Here at the Helpline, we recommend that all sexually active individuals get tested regularly for all STIs, including HIV. Therefore, even though the activity that you have described (protected sex) is low risk for HIV transmission, I commend you for getting tested.

A 4th generation duo test has a window period of 4-12 weeks post-exposure. So a negative result from a 4th generation test at 30 days post exposure would provide a good indication of your status. However, you will need to be tested again at 12 weeks post exposure for conclusive results.

I hope that I have addressed your concerns. Please feel free to contact us again should you have any further questions.

In health,

Natalie
AIDS Vancouver Helpline Volunteer
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