This article previously appeared in FS magazine here. To ask a question, visit GMFA here.
Is there a cure?
"Is there any possibility HIV or AIDS can be cured?"
There have been a couple of cases highlighted in recent years where people appear to have been cured. This has been as a result of bone-marrow transplants, which are highly risky, or when an infant has been put on medication at a very early stage. Although there are some promising therapies in the pipeline, we are not aware of any that are currently at the human trial stage, so any cure, if there ever is one, is still some years away. We hope that there will one day be a cure for HIV but as this is certainly years, and possibly decades away, we would urge people to continue to protect themselves and their partners by using condoms.
Tested HIV-negative but still not sure
“Over a year ago I got some symptoms that can be associated with HIV infection. I had negative lab test after a month and negative Insti Rapid tests at a clinic 4, 5, 10 and 16 months. Yet I continue to suffer from all of the symptoms – fatigue, cough, skin rash, sore mouth, loss of appetite and thirst, loss of sense of taste and smell, forgetfulness, vision loss, burning hands and feet. Can the test continually miss the infection?"
Once you are beyond the window period for the test used you should not get a false negative result. So with five negative test results under your belt, assuming that you have not taken any further risks in this time, the cause of your symptoms is not HIV infection.
Never been fucked but worried I have HIV
"At the age of 26, I am sad to admit that I have never engaged in intercourse... anal or vaginal. I am a gay man who struggled to come to terms with my sexuality in my teens and never really engaged in sexual activity with men until my 20s. Throughout the last six years, I have however engaged in kissing, wanking and oral sex with several men. I think still living with my parents at the moment has not allowed me to have a full sex life. I know, sad! But hey, it will happen. So with the ten or so men I have engaged in oral sex with (both giving and receiving) how at risk am I of HIV?
I have never really let anyone cum in my mouth. But sometimes I panic because I get a little funny feeling in my throat a few days after, or maybe that’s my imagination. I also once had a common cold a few days after, but thinking back, that was probably brewing before I had sex.
Most of the times I have engaged in oral contact it hasn’t been for a long time. Usually a drunken fumble or a quick cubicle moment in a bar etc. I have a tendency to read up on HIV for days and weeks afterwards which seems to take over my mind. It’s annoying. If I have got it from what I have done, it will be devastating without having intercourse. I have given blood twice in the last six years with no notification of anything being wrong. I hope you can answer some of my questions.”
As you will probably already know, the risk of HIV transmission from oral sex is relatively low, and much lower if nobody cums in your mouth. There is no risk from kissing or wanking. A funny feeling in the throat is not a symptom of HIV infection and although cold and flu-like symptoms can indicate HIV infection, in most cases they will be caused by colds or flu. The guidelines on blood donation are that you should not donate blood if you have had any oral or anal sex with a man (if you are a man) within the last year. Because they need to protect the blood supply, the blood donation service is very cautious.
For your own peace of mind you should consider testing for HIV, either at a clinic or by using a home sampling kit – you can order one free from GMFA. From what you describe, your behaviour is low risk.
Further info on oral sex.
Signs of HIV infection.
When should I test for chlamydia?
"I had sex on Sunday night and the person I had sex with called me to say they have chlamydia. I am a top and I fucked him without a condom. In my town you can only get tested on a Wednesday, so if I got tested tomorrow would it show up or should I wait a week? And will I have definitely got it?”
It can take anything between ten days and two weeks for tests to pick up a chlamydia infection. We would therefore recommend that you wait at least ten days before getting tested for it and avoid sex with any other partners until you have been given the all-clear. If you have sex with someone who has chlamydia, or any other STI, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will get it as well. The risk is however increased if you don’t use a condom, even if you are the top.
On many occasions, chlamydia doesn’t show any symptoms so it’s best to get tested just to get peace of mind, and get it treated with a course of antibiotics if necessary. Seeing as you didn’t use a condom, it’s also advisable that you get a full sexual health check-up. You can speak to your sexual health adviser at the clinic to see what they would recommend.
For more information on chlamydia,
Please note, the advice GMFA provides is intended to support, not replace the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. GMFA recommends you visit your GP or GUM clinic if you have a sexual health need.
This article was taken from FS magazine issue 140.
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