Anonymous
Hi. I had sex with a sex worker, and am unsure about the expiration of the condom that I used. She put it on for me, and I fear that her nails may have pierced the tip of the condom. We had sex for about 1-2 minutes, and I noticed little pre-cum in the condom, after which I stopped and rolled out the condom, then dropping it on the chair. After 10 minutes, I did not notice the pre-cum anymore. I fear that there is a tiny hole in the condom that I couldn't see, although i did not notice any spills on the floor or the chair (I was drunk so I didn't check the tip of the condom). I replaced the condom, and then we continued for about 10 minutes after which I released cum, and it did not leak. I developed a sore throat after 1 week, though there was harmattan, but I have had no other symptoms since then, except the occassional tiredness which is probably due to waking up early and coming in late due to work. It is 21 days now, and I want to go and test. I am scared that the condoms may have expired, and put me at risk. I am also scared that I may test positive if the condom was expired and had microscopic holes. Please help me in this situation. Thanks
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Anonymous
Hi there,

Thank you for choosing AIDS Vancouver for your source of HIV/AIDS related information. It's great to see that you are taking initiative when it comes to your health and well being!

Please keep in mind that engaging in sexual activity with a commercial sex worker does not pose any additional risk to HIV transmission. It is the act which confers a risk, not the individual.

Using protection is an excellent method of keeping your risk of HIV acquirement low. The fact that you switched condoms was a very wise choice on your part. Whether the initial condom was broken or not, a torn condom provides more protection that no condom at all; however, I wouldn't advise you to focus on the "what if" aspect of this situation. Trying to remember if the condom was expired, or if this woman's nails were able to tear the material is not a productive way to cope with your concerns.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) all HIV tests conducted by a health care professional provide conclusive results 12 weeks (or 84 days) post exposure, provided there have been no other exposures during that window period. Most individuals develop detectable antibodies 21-25 days after the exposure, so a test at this point will be a good indication of your status. Nevertheless, you will be required to wait until the 12 week mark in order to receive conclusive results.

There are no clinically defined symptoms of HIV. The fact that you have developed a sore throat and fatigue are by no means an indication that you have been exposed to the virus. In fact, sexual activity poses the risk of acquiring other viruses (such as the flu) and bacteria that could also lead to the appearance of such symptoms. There are a handful of reasons why you could be experiencing these symptoms, and if they persist I would encourage you to contact a health care professional. Rest assured, the only way to know one's HIV status is through testing.

At AIDS Vancouver we advocate for all sexually active individuals to test for all sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, as part of a healthy lifestyle. This can be in the form of testing every 3 months, bi-annually, annually or whatever suits the individual's lifestyle.

I hope I have addressed all of your concerns, and if you have any other questions please feel free to contact us again!

All the best,

Greg
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