Anonymous
Good afternoon,
Firstly I would just like to thank you for providing this incredibly helpful and educational service. You all have done a lot of good for people in situations similar to myself. So thanks!

I am a female who had protected vaginal sex and unprotected oral sex (no ejaculation) with a straight male from my university. He tested negative with an INSTI test a week after the incident and claimed his last sexual exposure was over 2 months ago, but still I was nervous. I don't normally have casual sex, so I become anxious and finally decided to get on PEP 64 hours post-exposure. I finished a 29-day regimen and after 4.5 weeks, I took an RNA Aptima TMA QL as well as a 4th generation HIV test. Both were NEGATIVE. Is it time to move on? I saw an infectious disease doctor who didn't seem concerned at all with my incident, but I have just had SO much anxiety over this whole thing that I just don't know how to let this go or forget about it. Is there any reason at all why my tests would not be conclusive, especially the RNA test? Is it likely that I could have gotten HIV from this incident? The anxiety has just become too much to handle. I've had to see a therapist and a psychiatrist over this and it's affecting my life entirely. I just want this all to be over.

Thanks so much.
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Anonymous
Hi there and thank you for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Online Helpline.

You might be happy to know that protected sex (sex with a condom) and giving oral sex are considered to be activities with a low risk of acquiring HIV. Receiving oral sex is considered to have a negligible risk (meaning that there have been no reported cases of someone acquiring HIV in this way in British Columbia). So, the total risk of acquiring HIV from the sexual experience you described would be low risk.

Taking PEP is something that can affect the window period for HIV testing. The window period for testing starts after you have finished your dose of PEP. About 95% of HIV infections can be detected 4-6 weeks after exposure. This means that you would have to get tested 4-6 weeks after finishing your dose of PEP. HIV tests have the most conclusive results when taken 12 weeks (3 months) after exposure (or finishing PEP). I would recommend taking a test at 4-6 weeks after you finished PEP and then retesting at 12 weeks just to be sure.

I'm sorry that you have been feeling very anxious and worried. It sounds like you are dealing with this in a good way by seeking help from a therapist. It is important to keep in mind that protected sex is a low risk exposure and if the condom was used properly and did not break the risk is even lower.

For more information about HIV you can always visit the AIDS Vancouver website or CATIE.ca.

I hope this information helps to answer your questions and helps with your worries.

Isla (Volunteer)

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online

Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm (PST)

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Email or Forum: http://www.helpline.aidsvancouver.org

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