HIV FAQ: Please Do Not Post Before Reading This

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apple92681
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 636
   Posted 4/3/2008 1:44 AM (GMT -6)   
These forums are a resource for those living with or affected by HIV (family and friends of people with HIV). If you have questions about risk situations that you do not see answered here, call 411 and ask for a local HIV Hotline number, or contact an infectious disease specialist. 
 
Most of the questions people ask can be self-answered if the information here is read, absorbed, and applied to different situations.
 
Please do not post "can I get HIV if..." type questions in these forums, as they will be promptly deleted.
 
 
Questions and Answers about HIV
1. What is HIV? What is AIDS?
2. Who can get HIV?
3. What are the ways in which HIV can be spread from one person to another?
4. Can I get HIV from oral sex?
5. How long does HIV live outside the body?
6. Can having another sexually transmitted infection (STI) increase my risk?
7. What are common signs and symptoms of HIV?
8. How does an HIV test work?
9. What happens if an ELISA is "reactive"?
10. How long should I wait to test and what is the window period?
11. Why do some places say to wait 3 months, 6 months, etc. to test?
12. Will taking antibiotics or other medicines affect my test results?
13. Is an HIV positive diagnosis a "death sentence"?
14. Can an HIV positive person catch the virus again?
15. What can I do to prevent myself becoming infected with HIV?
16  How can I practice safer sex?
17. Pregnanacy and HIV
18. Kissing and HIV. What if there's blood in the saliva?
 
 
1. What is HIV? What is AIDS?

HIV is the medical abbreviation for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV is a virus that affects the immune system of humans.

AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. AIDS occurs when the virus has nearly depleted a persons immune system, leaving their body very susceptible to a variety of opportunistic infections (viruses and bacteria that usually affect only people with weak immune systems).
 
 

2. Who can get HIV?

Anyone. Barring a few circumstances, HIV is mainly a behavior-driven illness spread carelessly by lack of education, unprotected sex, dishonesty and drug abuse. Education, safety and honesty are important in slowing the spread of the virus.

 

3. What are the ways in which HIV can be spread from one person to another?

Transmission of HIV is dependant on a number of conditions being fulfilled. Understanding these conditions gives a better understanding of how HIV is transmitted:

First, there must be a source of HIV infection. HIV exists in certain bodily fluids of persons infected with HIV. These include blood, semen, pre-ejaculate fluidvaginal fluid and breast milk.

Second, there must be a way for HIV to be transmitted to the bloodstream of an uninfected person. Unprotected sexual intercourse and sharing drug-injecting equipment are the most common ways to transmit the virus.

Third, there must be a person susceptible to infection. HIV transmission only takes place from one human to another. Mosquitoes, for instance, cannot become infected with HIV and pass it on to humans.

Finally, a sufficient amount of HIV must enter the blood of an uninfected person for infection to be established. If insufficient HIV enters the bloodstream, transmission of HIV infection will not occur.
 

4. Can I get HIV from performing oral sex?

Yes, it is possible. Does it happen very often? No.
 
The mouth is an inhospitable environment for HIV (in semenal fluids, vaginal fluids or blood), meaning the risk of HIV transmission through the throat, gums, and oral membranes is lower than through vaginal or anal membranes. This is due to the fact that human saliva contains enzymes that are harmful to the virus.

There have been documented cases where HIV was transmitted orally, so we can't say that getting HIV-infected semen, vaginal fluid or blood in the mouth is without risk. However, the risk is significantly lower than that of vaginal or anal intercourse.

Other factors that may increase the risk of contracting HIV through oral sex are actively-bleeding cuts, recent oral surgery or the presence of another STI in the mouth.

You can safely engage in oral sex by using a condom or dental dam with lubrication underneath. If you choose not to use a barrier, try to avoid ingesting ejaculate fluids by removing your mouth before climax.

If you ingest semen or vaginal fluid, spit it out soon afterwards. Flush the mouth with water or a soda drink. Even if you do not do this, however, risk for infection this way is still very low. If one of the 4 HIV carrying bodily fluids is swallowed, stomach acid will kill any HIV nearly instantly, and transmission cannot occur from a dead virus.
 
To reduce the already low risk further:

Avoid using mouthwash or drinking alcoholic beverages before or during oral sex, as they have been found by a recent UCLA study to weaken both the enzymes in saliva and the gums.

Wait at least two hours after brushing your teeth before engaging in oral sex in order to give your gums time to heal from being disturbed.

Generally, the better your oral health is, the lower your already-low risk will be
 

5. How long does HIV live outside of the body?

Not very long. Almost all viruses contain tiny little protein plugs that help them attach and infect. But the plugs on an HIV viral cell are very fragile. Once exposed to air, the plugs will become damaged. After this happens, the virus loses the ability to infect and dies. So while a cold virus may be able to spread from contact with outside surfaces, HIV does not have that ability.
 

6. Can another Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) increase my risk?

Yes! Studies have shown that individuals infected with Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia and Herpes are nearly three to five times as likely to spread or contract HIV.

An HIV positive individual who becomes sick with another STI will develop an increased presence of HIV in their body. When this happens, bodily fluids of the HIV-positive individual will be highly infectious.

Conversely, STIs that cause sores – such as Syphilis and Herpes -- may act as a gateway to the bloodstream and increase the risk of contracting HIV.
 

7. What are common signs and symptoms of HIV?

Approximately half of all infected persons will show no signs or symptoms upon acquiring the virus. Others may become sick with a flu-like illness that will show up 1—3 weeks after infection, no later. This occurs around the time of seroconversion when your immune system is forming antibodies in response to the virus in your blood. In medical terms, it is known as acute retroviral syndrome (ARS). The term "primary HIV infection" refers to the first stage of viral infection, in which symptoms of ARS may manifest. Common symptoms of ARS include fever, nausea, fatigue, mouth sores, headache, rash, swollen lymph nodes, night sweats and diarrhea. After a week or two of ARS, the body will return to normal.

Years later, however, the flu-like symptoms may recurr and last for prolonged periods of time. They can also be accompanied by unusual skin disorders, hair loss, rare oral conditions, and increased susceptibility to minor infections.
It is impossible to determine whether or not you are infected until you are tested.
 
 We recommend all sexually active people make HIV/STI testing a routine habit and part of their yearly check-up.
 
 

8. How does an HIV test work?

The best and most reliable test is an HIV antibody test known as an ELISA or “EIA”, which is shorthand for Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay, and is generally referred to as an antibody test. This test looks for antibodies created by your immune system in response to the virus. An ELISA test can be performed via the following methods:

Blood draw   This test can be done through a physician or STI clinic with the result returning in 2 days to 2 weeks, depending on location and specific times given by the agency.

Oral swab       This test is done by manually swabbing the cheek/gums and collecting a sample of saliva and cells. This test can be done through a physician or STI clinic with the result returning in 2 days to 2 weeks, depending on location and times given by the agency.

Oraquick Rapid Test      This test is done either by manually swabbing the gums or by a quick blood draw via a needle-prick. Results are available within 20 minutes.
 
Home Access Test kit   These tests can be purchased at most pharmacies and drug stores. After carefully reading the instructions, a sample of blood is collected and sent off to a laboratory for testing. To obtain the result, you must call in and give the lab the serial ID number that came with the test.
 
If you need information on testing sites in your local and regional area, you can go to http://www.hivtest.org/ and fill in your Zip Code and the site will give you a list of sites and medical centers offering free, confidential and rapid testing.
 
 
9. What happens if an ELISA is “reactive” ?

If your first antibody test returns with a “reactive” result, another test will be done to confirm your result. In a few rare cases, ELISA tests have picked up antibodies to viruses other than HIV. This is due to the fact that todays tests are very sensitive.

A “reactive” ELISA will be re-screened by another test called a Western Blot (WB). The WB test looks specifically for HIV antibodies. If they are not found, you will be declared “negative”. If the WB has indeed identified HIV antibodies, you will be declared “positive” and given counseling and other medical resources.
 

10. How long should I wait to test and what is the 'window period' ?

We know approximately how long it may take a person to produce antibodies to HIV based on years of data, research and advancements in testing.

A person who has contracted HIV may show up positive as early as two weeks after the time they were infected. According to page 11 of the Module 6 Training Manual from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the vast majority of those who contract HIV will show up positive between 4—6 weeks after infection.

To obtain a reliable test result, it is recommended that you wait at least six weeks after your last exposure. A tiny number of people may not test positive for three months. These are generally people with pre-existing immune disorders such as chemotherapy patients or recent organ transplant recipients who must take immune system-suppressing drugs. For this reason, many agencies will suggest a uniform three month test to cover everyone.

Testing beyond three months is completely unnecessary.

Here is a chart with approximate accuracy of HIV antibody testing:

Time                          Accuracy

2 weeks…………………………50%

3 weeks…………………………75%

4 weeks…………………………95%

6 weeks…………………………99%

3 months…………………….100%
 
 
11. Why do some places say to wait 3 months, 6 months, etc. to test?
Science (even medical science) is not perfect, and cannot account for every situation a person may have going on with their bodies. For this reason, not everyone will have enough antibodies to test at the same time. Those with weak immune systems can take longer to develop HIV antibodies.
 
Many resources lump everyone together to give one recommendation (for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this is 3 months).  Some places suggest longer window periods because the staff may not be eeucated with regard to updates in testing procedures. Still, others may use the longer window period as an effective scare tactic for behavior modification. Overall though, six months is far more than anyone needs to wait.
 
Ultimately, a person can only educate themselves by using resources like infectious disease medical professionals, state HIV hotlines, and local AIDS service prevention and education organizations to gather information and make the decisions that work for them. There are websites where questions can be asked and answered about HIV transmission, and that is the purpose of those sites. It's not the purpose of this one. This is a site for people affected by HIV to congregate and find support.
 
Please respect the purpose of this site, and those living with HIV who wish to find support here by not abusing this forum.
 

12. Will taking antibiotics or other medicines effect my test results?

No.
 
 
13. Is an HIV positive diagnosis a “death sentence”?
 

No. Counseling and medicine are available to those who want to live their lives to the fullest extent possible. It is important for HIV positive individuals to keep in regular contact with their physicians and HIV Specialists in order to obtain information on the most current and effective treatment methods.
 
People often live long, fulfilling, and healthy lives even after receiving an HIV diagnosis, and it's all a matter of whether you take charge of your health care.
 
 

14. Can an HIV positive person ‘catch’ the virus again ?

Yes. Like all viruses, HIV comes in different strains. Some are more benign while others may be more fatal.

Health officials and Scientists are studying the various strains of HIV to determine the effectiveness of anti-viral medication on all of them.

This is why it is important for HIV positive individuals to exercise extreme caution, even when engaging in sexual intercourse or needle-sharing with other HIV positive people.

A combination of two strains of the virus may render anti-viral drugs useless, leaving an individual vulnerable to developing AIDS.
 
 

15. What can I do to prevent myself from becoming infected with HIV?

When it comes to sex, abstinence is the only 100 percent guarantee to prevent infection.

After abstinence is monogamy – sexual activity between two people only. A healthy monogamous relationship starts after both people take an HIV test 6 weeks or more after they have been with any other sexual partners. While in theory this sets up a perfectly safe environment, both partners are not always honest and monogamous, and so safety issues can occur. If you are with a single partner and question their monogamy, your safest bet is to use latex (or polyurethane for those allergic to latex) condoms when having sex.

If you are sexually active with more than one person, always use protective measures and test regularly.

If you have a habit of drug abuse, refrain from sharing needles and other equipment. Some places sell new syringes over the counter in pharmacies, or may have needle exchange programs. Call 411 and ask for your state's HIV hotline for more info.
 
 
16. How can I practice safer sex?

To begin with, avoid using condoms made of lamb skin. HIV viral cells can pass through a lamb skin condom.

Always use a latex condom. For those allergic to latex, polyurethane condoms work fine as well, though they are harder to find and generally a little more expensive than latex. For women, or use during anal sex, a Female Condom can be considered as well. This is inserted into the vagina according to its instructions, or into the anus using the partner's erect penis or a dildo. The female condom is also polyurethane and can be used with either water or oil based lubricants, though the HIV prevention effectiveness of the female condom is lower than latex and polyurethane male condoms.

Always use water-based lubricants with latex condoms! Oil-based lubricants have been found to tear latex condoms during intercourse. Polyurethane condoms can be used with either water or oil based lubricants.

Never “double-bag” with condoms! In other words, do not use more than one condom during sexual intercourse. The friction during sexual activity may cause both condoms to rupture and expose you to bodily fluids. This goes the same for male and female condoms... never use both... choose one or the other. If it's a toss up, go with the male condom, as they have a higher safety rate.

To better enjoy oral sex while using protection, generously rub some water-based lubrication over the genital area before applying the condom. This can have the effect of "moisture" on the genitals without the mouth actually making contact with potentially-infectious fluids.

Barring no large and fresh opened sores, hand-to-genital mutual stimulation is also considered a safe practice.

Avoid sharing sex toys (dildos, vibrators, and BDSM equipment that may contain bodily fluids).
 
 
 
17. Pregnancy and HIV
 
Having HIV when pregnant does not guarantee your child will be born with HIV. In fact, with proper care and delivery of the child, the chance of infection from mother to child during delivery falls to only a couple of percent points. Infection from mother to child in the womb is very rare.
 
If you become pregnant, it is strongly advised that you test for HIV, because special steps need to be taken to assure your child will be HIV negative (regular health care, regimen of HIV meds, special Caesarian birth) and the doctor needs to know to make these preparations. NOTE: During pregnancy it is not uncommon to have one or more inconclusive or "false positive" HIV test results. This is normal and a result of the changes that occur to the body during pregnancy. Doctors will do follow up testing to assure this is the case.
 
After childbirth, doctors will run tests on the child every few months, usually up until about 18 months to assure the child is HIV negative. It can't be determined upon birth, because a child is born with its mothers antibodies, and does not lose them and start developing its own for several months, so a child would technically test positive for antibodies upon birth, but not necessarily be positive.
 
After a child is born, the only major precaution that needs to be taken is with regard to breast feeding. Breast milk in HIV infected women contains some HIV, and because of the fragile lining of a baby's stomach, transmission is possible through breastfeeding. If possible, formula feeding is recommended for HIV positive mothers. If this is not at all possible, then breastfeeding should be weined by about 6 months to reduce chances of infection, and during that time breast pumping may be a better option so that there is no risk of blood contact in case the nipple is dry or cracked and bleeding.
 
NOTE: Breast milk would not be a risk for adult infection unless it came directly into contact with the bloodstream (via open bleeding cuts or injection) or sexual membranes of an adult. No other way, including accidental ingestion, is a risk for transmission in adults.
 
 
 18. Kissing and HIV. What if there's blood in the saliva?
 
This really doesn't change anything since enzymes in saliva significantly impair HIV's ability to transmit. There would need to be a lot more blood in your partner's mouth for there to be any concern at all, and even then you would need to have significant active bleeding in your own mouth to have potential risk. The kind of bleeding that would make people either not kiss at all, or stop kissing before any real risk could occur, since people don't generally kiss with blood gushing out of their mouths.
 
That is all in addition to the person's HIV status being a factor (remember most people do not have HIV) so there is no risk in kissing, even if you feel there may have been some blood present.
 
 

...a special "Thank You" to forum member Hopeful82, who originally contributed much of this information, in addition to what I added.

Additional information was provided by:

The California Department of Health and Human Safety, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Los Angeles County Department of Health and Human Services, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the United Nations -- World Health Organisation (WHO).


Always hold firmly to the thought that each one of us can do something to bring some portion of misery to an end
 
   - Unknown

HIV/STI Counselor, Los Angeles CA
 
 
 

Post Edited (apple92681) : 4/23/2009 2:34:13 PM (GMT-6)


apple92681
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 636
   Posted 4/24/2008 10:12 PM (GMT -6)   
I want everyone to take the time to read this, please :-):
 
 
==============================================
 
AIDS Phobia / Transmission Anxiety: What You Need To Know
by TalktomeHIV, forum Moderator for HIV-AIDS
 
As a hotline counselor, one of the most difficult things to address is also one of the more common things we find ourselves facing: callers suffering from severe anxiety.

Anxiety can stem from and/or be complicated by heredity, environmental factors, guilt, abuse, drug use, and many other things, and is often caused by a combination of these things. In this context, anxiety usually masks itself as a difficulty in believing test results. When that is the case, people often will tell themselves, "Ok I have this info now, so after my next test I will feel better." Sometimes that may work. However, often times this same person has made that same call and told him or herself that same thing many times already. It's a vicious circle that will not break itself, and requires assistance in the form of a counselor.
 
Anxiety is also very capable of manifesting as symptoms, including many people mistake for symptoms of HIV. These symptoms can be severe and long lasting. In order to find relief once anxiety has reached the point of causing illness, intensive one on one counseling is generaly required.

If you find that you experience any of the following, you may be suffering from severe anxiety:

~ Calling hotlines regularly to ease your mind.
~ Checking, and cross checking various web sites and/or hotlines and obsessing over inconsistencies you see.
~ Asking the same questions over and over- "So I can rely on the six week test?"
~Relying upon someone else, ie a "professional" to tell you you're ok, despite having hte information that answers the question for you.
~ Preoccupation with overly technical information regarding testing that is not generally openly discussed as part of testing. A good example of this is the generation of HIV tests, and NA or PCR testing.
~ Multiple testings well beyond the commonly suggested suggested window periods of 6 weeks, 3 months, perhaps with the ability to spout off the exact number of days you waited for each test.
~ Doubting and fearing the accuracy of information given to you by a doctor or hotline counselor when an untrained person says something about HIV transmission that is contradictory. Such as, "The guy on the bus told me HIV can hide."


If you are experiencing any of those scenarios, please try and take a step back to assess your situation. Testing at 6 weeks, and certainly 3 months is completely reliable. The REAL culprit here is not HIV, but anxiety, and/or the many factors that contribute to it. Consider contacting your doctor or insurance company about finding a counselor, or visiting a local community health center to inquire about counseling related to anxiety.

That may be the only way you'll ever be able to ease your mind.


- HIV hotline counselor -

<!-- Edit -->

Post Edited (TalktomeHIV) : 6/22/2007 2:30:26 PM (GMT-6)


Forum Co-Moderator for HIV/AIDS


--HIV/STI Counselor, Hope Treatment Center, Los Angeles, CA--


apple92681
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 636
   Posted 5/29/2008 4:15 PM (GMT -6)   

SOME COMMON QUESTIONS ASKED OF COUNSELORS AT HIV/STI CLINICS:

 

Can one get infected with hiv through a sewing needle that may have pierced someone else but does not have a visible blood.?

HIV can be spread through a sewing needle, but the blood on the needle would have to be fairly fresh, like less than a couple minutes old. HIV dies rapidly outside the human body and normally by the time blood is dry, HIV is dead.

 

I licked the stomach of a male friend after he ejaculated , so his sperm got in my mouth after he came. How risky was this?

 

Unless you had an open, bleeding sore or cut in your mouth, your risk of getting HIV from the encounter you describe is as close to zero as you can get without it being zero. Any virus in the semen that may have made it's way to your stomach when you swallowed would be killed by digestive juices.

 

A prostitute gave me oral sex (unprotected) then we had protected vaginal sex. about two weeks later I woke up with an agonizing headache, a temperature, and diarrhea. I was tested a month or so later. (or a quick). They said that under my circumstances I had nothing to worry about and that it was probably some infection. The results were negative. The symptoms went away for like a week and they returned about two weeks ago. I feel exhausted and I get a fever for most of the day.

 

The OraQuick test is very reliable. 96% of people who get infected with HIV will develop detectable antibodies by day 30 after infection. There are a small number (less than 1% of those infected) of people who won't test positive for up to three months after infection, but the odds are that you did not become infected. Oral sex is low-risk for infection anyway, and the risk is greater for the partner giving oral sex. If you used a condom, and put it on before there was any chance of body fluid exchange, and it didn't break or slip off, there is very little risk of getting HIV. Again, the risk is greater for the partner receiving the body fluid, not the insertive partner. You may have mononucleosis, or some other viral illness not related to the sexual encounter you describe.

 

How reliable are oral hiv test? The ones that use a small sample of saliva collected with a cotton swab. I always thought they needed a sample of blood.

Oral swab tests are just as accurate as blood tests, although there may be a slighlty higher incidence of false positives or indeterminate results. Oral tests actually use fluid from cheek cells that are broken open during the swabbing process. Saliva itself contains no HIV or HIV antibodies. Antibodies are what the test are actually looking for.

 

How long do you have to wait for antibodies to be picked up by the oral tests? is it the same as the oraquick blood tests? I took mine at five and a half weeks, do you think the results are accurate [sic]?

Around 96% of people who become infected with HIV will show the antibodies on the oral (and blood) tests by day 30 after infection. By six weeks, 99% of people will have the antibodies that can be picked up by testing, and by 3 months, the rate is 100%.  As you can see, the odds are great that if you had been infected, you would have tested positive at the five and a half week mark. In general, one should wait six weeks for an antibody test.

Does menstrual blood transmit HIV?. I have used a condom but got some menstrual blood on the top area of the penis ( on the penis skin ). After the contact I washed my penis with water and soap.

Menstrual blood may have a relatively high concentration of HIV in it, as does any blood from an infected person. Therefore, you were exposed to both vaginal secretions and blood. However, your risk is still low, since you used a condom (hopefully latex or polyurethane!). As long as the skin where you got the blood on was not irritated or have open sores of some kind, your risk is still low. If the blood had gotten on the tip of the penis, where the opening is, your risk would be a little higher, since any virus in the blood would have entrance into the body through that opening.

 

I just read in an article that HIV concentration in vaginal fluids is very small, about the same concentration that is in saliva. Is this true? How high or how low is the concentration of the HIV virus in vaginal fluids? Why? Thank you for your time and answers.

 

The concentration of HIV in body fluids can vary from individual to individual, and from one day to another for each individual. In general, vaginal fluid concentration is lower than in semen or breast milk, and all are lower than blood concentrations. While there is known to be a small amount of the virus found in saliva, the concentration is far too low to allow transmission. The virus must be present in sufficient quantities to allow transmission--an occasional viral cell in a body fluid is not enough. The virus infects mainly certain kinds of immune system cells, and there are very few of these in saliva.

 

How long would it take for a Viral Load Test to show presence of HIV after infection? I know this procedure is not recommended for diagnosis of HIV infection, but it is said it can detect the presence of the virus long before any test, but how long after infection? Thank you for your answers.

 

 As you say, it is not recommended for diagnosis, since it is a very sensitive test, and may produce false positives. That being said, VL tests may be able to detect genetic material from HIV within a few days of becoming infected. Again, even if the VL test would show genetic material, it is not diagnostic. ELISA and Western Blot testing must confirm it.

 It is my understanding that an HIV Viral Load Test can detect HIV presence in just a few days but could it detect it 10 days after infection? With what degree of accuracy? Why? Also, in some answers it has been stated that HIV transmission from female to male during vaginal sex is very rare, why is that? Under what conditions could an HIV infected female could transmit the virus to a male during vaginal sex? Thank you for your answers.

Viral load tests actually are detecting the presence of the rNA or DNA contained in the virus, while screening tests test for antibodies developed by a person's body to fight the virus. It takes about a month for the body to develop antibodies detectable on testing, but the viral DNA is detectable within days of infection. Female to male transmission is rare because female sexual fluids have less of the virus in general, because the male is not exposed to the female body fluids for as long as females are exposed to ejaculated semen in the female vagina, and because the surface area of possible exposure for females (vaginal lining) is much greater than the possible exposure area for males (urethral opening at the tip of the penis.)

Can you get HIV from semen from an HIV+ person coming into contact with the skin on the inside of the thigh? Can you get it from just rubbing and touching? What if the guy touched his penis then fingered me?

 

Unless his body fluid (semen or blood) came into contact with your genital area, or an open cut or sore on your skin, there is no risk of HIV in the encounter you describe. It takes direct contact (with a fluid capable of spreading the virus) with a mucous membrane or open wound to transmit HIV.

 

I am a mechanic, and had a slight cut on my finger from the previous day. You can still obviously see the cut, but is not bleeding. What are the odds of receiving hiv through this cut, if i had fingered this girl??

 

The odds of getting HIV from vaginal fluid are not high, in any case, and if the cut wasn't actively bleeding, or gaping open, then your risk is absolutely minimal.

 

I had vaginal intercourse one time with a certain female (I'm male). Two months the encounter, she had a negative ELISA test, and I had a negative HIV viral load test 10 days after the sex. How reliable are these tests-can there be false negatives on the ELISA? Are all ELISA tests the same? Do I need re-testing to be sure I don't have HIV? I have not had any risky behavior since that once. Also, is a mild sore throat that comes and goes a sign of HIV?

The ELISA tests are all very much the same and use the same procedure and technology. They are very reliable, especially more than six weeks after a person has had risky behavior and the possibility of infection. It is extremely unlikely that your female partner would have been infected at the time of intercourse if her test was negative 2 months after the encounter. A mild sore thorat that comes and goes is not an indication of HIV.

 

I am diabetic. A couple of days ago a friend asked me to test his blood glucose and I did (tested on the forearm). An hour later (61 mins to be exact) I tested mine but forgot to change the lancet. I don't know his history and wondered if there is any chance of anything being passed on this way. Thanks.

 

Hepatitis or HIV could be passed by blood-to-blood contact such as you describe. There is a much higher risk of passing hepatitis with an exposure like you describe, as it survives longer outside the human body than HIV. Test anytime after six weeks for HIV and anytime after three months for Hepatitis.

I am thinking about going to get an OraQuick mouth swab test after performing unprotected oral on a woman (I am a man). However, I just developed a mouth sore on the upper right gums. This is the exact same area that they tell you to swab your mouth during the OraQuick test. I like to know if swabbing over this mouth sore will somehow make the test less accurate. I have read some reports of false positives. Or if I avoid this area but swab other parts of my mouth will the test collect enough material for the Oraquick test to be accurate?

 In my clinic, we have the client swab in a circle all around the mouth between the cheek and the gum. I would advise you to wait until the sore is pretty much healed, although it really shouldn't make a difference on the test. The test looks for antibodies to HIV, and rubbing over a sore shouldn't change the results.

 

 

Hello, about two weeks ago I had sex with a escort who came to my hotel room. So, she wasn't a street walker or anything like that. We had vaginal intercourse with a condom and during that the condom slipped off. After about 20 seconds I noticed the condom had come off so I put another one on. After intercourse in which the whole session was about 5 minutes, there was some blood on the condom and I asked her about it and she said she thought she was over her period but must not have been. Actually, it was more like clots than menstrual blood. The sight of the blood freaked me out and I immediately took a shower and washed my genital area with soap and water. Needless to say, I have been freaked out over the incident since there was blood involved and the condom came off. I talked to her about her HIV status and such and she said she gets tested every three months and seemed to be very knowledgable about it in general but I don't know how much of that to believe. So, my question is how worried should I be? Thanks in advance.

 

Your risk is still small, as you don't know if she had it, and if she was HIV positive, your exposure was still limited by the fact that you wore a condom most of the time. Even though you may have had some menstrual blood on the condom, the condom did cover the only avenue of infection for men, the urethral opening at the end of the penis. You may test anytime after six weeks to be sure of your status. Until then, remain abstinent or use condoms for every single encounter.

 

 

I had sex with a friend of mine on Oct 25 on the last day of her period (unprotected). I don't know her HIV status. I was tested two days later, and she was tested after 1 week; both were negative. I had protected sex with her 7 more times. I was re-tested on the 16th and 17th weeks (after the unprotected sex i had);both were negative . Should I have further testing?

 

No. Any negative antibody test after six weeks is confirmatory. If your sexual activity was protected in the meantime, you have nothing to worry about.

 

 

I had sex with a sex worker on Oct 4th 2006. As I pulled out the condom fell off my penis. I put the condom back on and continued to have intercourse. ( my penis was never inside her without a condom.) about three weeks after the incident I was really tired and had many headaches. I also had flu like symptoms (no swollen lymph node, no fever, no rash,). What are my chances of being infected with HIV?

 

It is extremely unlikely you would have gotten HIV from the encounter, as you were not exposed to the sex worker's body fluids.

 

Two years ago, I had a few sexual encounters with someone that involved him being inside me, thrusting for about 1 minute. He didn't maintain an erection and didn't cum inside me. I had no idea at the time he was HIV+. What are the chances of me getting HIV from this, and should I get tested?

 

You don't say if you are male or female. The likelihood of your getting HIV from the encounters you describe may be greater if you were a male receiving anal sex, as the tissue in that area is more likely to be irritated or tear, thus involving a possible exposure of your blood to his body fluids. In either case, whether you’re male or female, the fact that he didn't ejaculate inside you decreases your risk, although the pre-ejaculatory fluid that is released prior to ejaculation may also contain a trace amount of virus. The likelihood of your getting the infection ranges from 1 in a thousand to one in 10,000 depending on what kind of sex you were having. In any case, I would recommend testing, as you have been exposed to a known HIV positive individual (if he was HIV+ at the time you were together.)

 

Can HIV be transmitted through dried blood? My bf cut himself with a sharp kitchen tool at work, and if someone who was HIV+ cut themselves on the same tool earlier, would by bf have been exposed? What would the risk be?

 HIV is not transmitted via dried blood, especially through an inanimate object. The virus does not survive outside the human body for more than a very few minutes and dies rapidly upon exposure to light and air. I do not recommend testing for your boyfriend.

 

Hi, I had a manicure done in last Dec. Unfortunately I was cut by the cuticle cutter and there was considerable bleeding. I then noticed that the instrument was placed back without cleaning, and used from customer to customer. I am terribly worried that I might get any infectious diseases this way (especially HIV), if it so happens that it cuts someone just before me who is positive. At week 6, I developed cold and a lot of phelgm which caused me to lose my voice. All these go down in a few days, however, my swollen lymph nodes at the neck persists still, as diagnosed by the doctor. How possible is it that I might get infected with HIV in this manner? To ease my anxiety, I had a test done after 6 weeks, and it was negative. However, I am still worried, since I had taken several courses of antibiotics since the exposure. Does medications affect or delay the window period in any case? Or can I be sure of my 6 week test results? Please advise!

You are HIV negative, as a six-week test is conclusive. In addition, HIV does not survive outside the human body for more than a minute or so. In order for the possibility of transmission to have been likely, the person would have had to have been cut in the few minutes right before you were, in order to have fresh, wet blood on the scissors. Medication will not affect the window period of the virus showing up in the tests.

 

I recently had an encounter with 2 women. 1 of the ladies started to finger the other one, and then stuck her finger in my ass. As I was very drunk during this encounter, I do not know the amount of time between the other girls vagina and my ass. I'm worried that there could still have been vaginal fluid on her finger as it went into my ass. I do not know if they are HIV+ or not. What are the chances that if there were fluids on her fingers, and she was positive, that I am now infected?

It is extremely unlikely that you would be infected from the encounter you describe. It is unlikely the woman was infected with HIV in the first place, and if she was, the amount of virus in vaginal fluid tends to be fairly low, although it can vary widely from person to person, and from time to time in the same person. It is also rare for the virus to be transmitted via skin surfaces from one person to anothe person through a third party. If there was no blood involved, there is very little risk of getting HIV in the way you describe.

I went to dentist , and I noticed little bleeding from my gum , next day I kissed deep French kissing a stripper, this was after 24-30 hours from dentist visit, what is the possibility to get HIV ?

It would be very unlikely to get HIV from this encounter. Your gums were mostly likley healed by then, and deep French kissing is not a usual way of passing HIV. HIV is not transmitted by saliva, so the French stripper would have had to have the virus, and also an open bleeding mouth sore or wound, in order to have passed it on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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HIV/STI Counselor, Los Angeles CA
 
Always hold firmly to the thought that each one of us can do something to bring some portion of misery to an end
 
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apple92681
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Date Joined May 2007
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   Posted 5/29/2008 6:03 PM (GMT -6)   
If you need information on testing sites in your local and regional area, you can go to http://www.hivtest.org/ and fill in your Zip Code and the site will give you a list of sites and medical centers offering free, confidential and rapid testing.

Forum Co-Moderator for HIV-AIDS

HIV/STI Counselor, Los Angeles CA
 
Always hold firmly to the thought that each one of us can do something to bring some portion of misery to an end
 
   - Unknown


acaisha
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Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 1491
   Posted 6/22/2008 8:20 AM (GMT -6)   
Please do not post replies to this forum. If you have questions or comments please create a new post under the main HIV/AIDS forum.

Thanks!
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These forums are a resource for those living with or affected by HIV (family and friends of people with HIV). While questions on risk and transmission will be answered you should first consult the info found here: HIV: Questions, Answers & Information

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