Anonymous
Last semester at school I was pretty wild in the fact I was trying to have sex as much as possible. I had 3 girls who I trusted and thought unprotected sex was a good idea. I've been home for 3 weeks now and I had a bad dry cough for the first two. Then I woke up one morning and had never felt so sick. I had a horrible headache, I couldnt concentrate and I was dizzy. Sore throat, fever of 101, nausea, and aches and pains in my muscles. The thing that worries me the most was a painful swollen lymph node in my groin. After a couple days the pain slightly subsided. I still feel a little sick but not as bad and still have a fever a couple days later. I began to think about high risk situations I put myself in and the only one i can think of is when I had a pimple on my penis that popped and I had sex after. I have seen the doctor and he said it was probably a long lasting virus. I am very nervous it is HIV and kind of embarrassed to get tested.
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Anonymous
Hi and thank you for contacting AIDS Vancouver with your questions.

It sounds like you're feeling worried and upset about your symptoms and possible risk of acquiring a virus.

To begin with, we at AIDS Vancouver do not go by symptoms when assessing HIV. This is because the symptoms of HIV mirror those of many other conditions. The only way to know for sure about your HIV and STI status is to get tested. We recommend regular testing for everyone who is sexually active, and especially right after a possible risky exposure.

I am sorry that you are feeling nervous and embarrassed about getting a test done. Many others feel the same way and have gone through the same worry. Please know that taking charge of your health is nothing to be ashamed of. It is the only way to know your status and it is the only way to ease your mind. AIDS Vancouver is trying to de-stigmatize HIV and STI testing, because we believe that it should be a regular part of every sexually active person's health care routine.

About the pimple on your penis that popped, that would actually not affect your risk of acquiring HIV. What matters is whether or not protection was used. Unprotected anal or vaginal sex is considered High Risk, and using a condom brings that risk level down to Low Risk. Low Risk means that there have only been a few reported cases associated with that activity, and those cases occur only under specific circumstances (eg. condom breaking or slipping). Condoms also help to reduce your risk of acquiring other STIs.

This may be helpful to you. It is a transmission equation that you can use to determine your own risk level in the future:

HIV TRANSMISSION EQUATION


BODY FLUID
+
ACTIVITY
+
DIRECT ACCESS TO BLOODSTREAM
---------- -------- ----------------------------
• blood (including menstrual) • unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse • vagina
• semen • sharing needles • anus
• pre-cum • mother to child (in specific cases) • urethra in the penis
• rectal secretions • open cuts and sores (in theory)
• vaginal fluids • other mucosal membranes
• breast milk • points of needle injection
To end with, an HIV test and an STI test really is the only way to know whether or not you have acquired a virus. It sounds like you already have a doctor that you see. I am not sure of your relationship with this doctor, but if you do not feel comfortable going to him/her for an HIV test there are other options for you. If you are located in Canada there are clinics where you can go to get tested anonymously, and the results don't have to go to your doctor. Here is a link that you may find useful for finding a testing centre (in Canada): . Or if you would like assistance (or if you have any other questions) you can give us a call at the AIDS Vancouver helpline: 604-253-0566 Ext. 299. And a great website to check out if you would like any more information is .

Thank you again for contacting us. I hope that I answered your questions, and please post again if you have any more concerns.


Best,

Sabina

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online

Monday - Friday 10am-4pm (PST)

604 253 0566 Ext. 299

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