Anonymous
What is the risk of having vaginal fluid on the condom, the condom being exposed to air outside the vagina for a few seconds and flipping the condom i.e. turning the condom inside out and wearing it again? Doesn't the vaginal fluid that comes in contact with the penis/penis head/receptive membranes pose any risk? This happened to me sometime towards the end of February. I had contact with the vaginal fluids when I wore the same condom just flipping it. We also had unprotected oral sex (receiving and giving).

The symptoms are like any other infection. I had terrible sore throat and the WORST FEVER EVER in the month of march. This fever subsided in 6 days with medication. Is this any sign?

In June I found one swollen cervical lymph node on the left of my neck which was confirmed by my physician and ultrasound which is invisible and can only be noticed when touched. One said my lymph node is palpable but normal but one said a palpable node means there's something wrong.How swollen do lymph nodes get? In early infection for how long do the lymph nodes remain swollen and what is their size- are the visible or can they remain invisible and only palpable?

In June for 2 weeks I had joint and muscle pain in both my knees and elbows as well as ankle and my neck which kept coming after intervals and used to last for a few seconds. How is the joint and muscle pain? is it like what I described, is it mild or severe? The contact with vaginal fluids happened in march and all this happened in June.

In July I had a rapid finger prick insti test which was around 89 days I last kissed that girl. She claims to be negative but I cant trust her. The test showed just one dot and that is negative. Can I consider this test conclusive? is any further testing warranted after 89 days? My major concern is the swollen lymph node in the neck and one near the elbow. I have read that lymph node in the elbow is a sign of an infection. Are there chances of a false negative result?

How reliable is a rapid test- insti finger prick after exactly 3 months of exposure?
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Anonymous
Hi there,

Thanks for contacting AIDS Vancouver for HIV/AIDS-related information.

To answer your first question, there is some risk involved. For transmission to occur, body fluids containing the virus (i.e blood, semen, vaginal fluids) need direct access to your bloodstream. What you should also know, however, is that the virus is relatively weak outside of the body, and can die within 60 seconds of exposure to oxygen. So, while a few seconds is not the same as a minute, it is still some exposure to oxygen. While the virus cannot pass through skin, please note that the urethra in the penis IS technically an opening. We consider vaginal sex with a condom to be low risk, and vaginal sex without a condom to be high risk. So it is best to say that you placed yourself at some risk.

For next time, please remember to use one condom ONCE per sexual act to protect the health of you and your partner(s). Flipping a condom around to reuse it not only places you at risk, but a condom rolled down the wrong way also places partners at risk because it may slip off. Here is some great information from AVERT: http://www.avert.org/condom-use-types-sizes.htm

As for oral sex, it is not a very common way for HIV transmitted. Not only because oral sex is not a very good way for body fluids to enter your bloodstream, but also because saliva contains an enzyme that inhibits the production of the virus. While there is slight risk associated with performing oral sex on someone, there has never been a report of transmission occurring through receiving.

As for your symptoms, I am sorry to hear that you are experiencing them, but please note that HIV has few clinically defined symptoms. Swollen lymph nodes means there is some infection in your body, but it may mean a variety of things. Joint and muscle pain aren't specific. Please note that while HIV is not commonly transmitted through oral sex, STI/STD can be, so I recommend that all sexually active people get themselves tested at least once a year to ensure the engines are running smoothly.

As for your rapid finger prick test, yes, your results are accurate, reliable and conclusive after 12 weeks/3 months/84 days, and so if your HIV test was negative, you are HIV negative. It would be extremely rare for a false negative in this case, particularly since it has been so long since your last risk exposure. Trust your test results.

Lastly, I would encourage you not to assume anyone's HIV status. HIV does not discriminate based on gender, age, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. Please also note, that as the penetrative partner, your sex partner was actually more at risk of transmission than you were because there are more openings within the lining of the vagina or rectum than in the penis.

If you have further questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Best,
Maggie
AIDS Vancouver Volunteer
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