Anonymous
Hello
I am terrified. Five weeks ago (38 days exactly) I had a sex with a guy who informed me five days later that he was HIV positive. My main concern is that I fisted him with my bare hand and since it was a winter time the skin on my fist was dry and cracked on many places and with several hangnails. I read on this site that fisting is not considered as a high risk practice for HIV transmission but I am worried that lesions of the skin that I had significantly increases the likelihood of transmission. Am I right? He was not on anti HIV therapy at that time with unknown virus blood load. And that fact is not encouraging as well.
Since than I had a lot of symptoms: red itchy throat, runny nose, cough, headache, I can palpate some lymph nodes in my groin, neck and armpits (but some of them existed there for years before, but I'm not sure for the others) but no fever, no rash, no nausea...
After 21 days I had Combo Ag/At test negative with the value of 0,45. And that high result worries me a lot because I expect it to be 0 if I am negative. I am going to have another Combo Ag/At test after sex week. It will be soon, in a few days, but till then I am terrified to death.
Do you have any word of comfort that will help me to survive this few days and next 6 week after that (the test is conclusive after 12 weeks)?
Thanks
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Anonymous
Hi there,

Thank you for reaching out to AIDS Vancouver, I'm happy to address your concerns. Let's assess your risk, and hopefully it will alleviate any feelings of fear or worry that you may have.

Fisting is considered to be negligible risk, which means that although there is a potential for HIV transmission, fisting has never demonstrated, in science, to lead to HIV transmission. In addition to that, superficial cuts and cracking of the skin are not sites for direct access for the virus to enter the bloodstream. So no - lesions of the skin will not significantly increase the likelihood of transmission. In order to acquire HIV through cuts or wounds, they need to be severe enough to require immediate medical attention, such as stitches. Why? Because cuts that deep are a direct access to the bloodstream.

It's also important to understand that symptoms are not an indication of having HIV, because HIV symptoms are so similar to other infections. The only way to know your status is through testing, which you have done. Most people develop detectable antibodies within 21-25 days post-exposure, so it's great to hear that you will be doing follow-up testing. You are correct, that HIV tests are considered to be conclusive at 12 weeks.

You are not alone in this. We here at AIDS Vancouver want to see you living your best and healthiest life. Please feel free to contact the helpline@aidsvancouver.org if you wish to discuss your feelings privately. For more information, please visit our website at

All the best,
Leila
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