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Author Topic: Manual Sex and STD Risk
Worried7134
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I am feeling pretty horrible right now and I was hoping you could help me out on a couple of levels. Things went too far with a guy, and I knew better, but I ended up giving him a hand job and he ejaculated on my hands, arm, and stomach. The guy was much more sexually experienced than I am, and I know he has had several sexual partners and is pretty promiscuous. I have no reason to believe he has been involved with any typically high risk women (such as intravenous drug users or anything), but I have a terrible (probably somewhat irrational) fear of contracting HIV. I am concerned because I had a one-day-old paper cut on my finger, but though it was a day old it was not scabbed over and still stings when I touch certain things (like today some salt got in it when I was cooking). It was not bleeding or anything, but it was not healed, and I don't know if that presents access to my blood stream. I went to the bathroom right away and washed all the semen off with soap and water.

Everything I've read so far says that this does not really pose a risk, and that it is extremely hard to contract a disease from semen to skin contact unless there is a fresh, open wound. Also, another thing, before he ejaculated, I know he had precum on his hands and stomach and just in the course of things I'm pretty sure I got some in my mouth. I just want to know if you would consider either of these things potential risks for contracting HIV or another STD? The first being semen making contact with a small day old but not yet healed cut, and the second being getting a very small amount of precum in your mouth.

The next thing I want to know is how soon after sexual contact can you get accurate STD test results? I heard that for HIV you have to wait until 6 months after the incident. I am filled with anxiety and waiting that long to know would be extremely difficult.

Lastly, I'm not sure how often you are asked for advice like this on here, but is there anything you would suggest for alleviating some of my guilt? I feel stupid and gross and I am very mad at myself. I knew this guy was promiscuous and I knew better than to do this. When I think about what I let him do on me I get disgusted. We are also part of an organization together so I am going to have to see him around, and I am ashamed I let him do that me and I don't want him to think I am easily taken advantage of. I never, ever do things like that outside the context of a committed relationship, but this time I just got caught up.

I would appreciate your advice on all of these things. Thank you.

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Robin Lee
Volunteer Assistant Director
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HI Worried7134 and welcome to Scarleteen.

The situations you describe are very low risk.

You are right; skin contact with body fluids does not pose any transmission risks unless there are cuts.

Unless you had oral contact with his genitals, it would be pretty difficult to get his fluids in your mouth.

Have you been sexually active before? If so, have you been tested for STIs (sexually transmitted infections)? Regular STI tests are important when you're sexually active, regardless of whether your partner has had 1, or many, other partners. Even if they say they've had none, getting tested is important to maintain health.

You're right too that it takes a while for testing to be accurate. Many clinicians suggest being tested about a month after contact, then retested a few months later. I suggest that you see your doctor or go to a sexual health clinic and see what they recommend. Do you have access to health care? If not, we can help you locate some in your area.

Just for your information: While the number of partners someone has had does increase their likelihood of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (knowing that the risk is drastically reduced for those who practice safer sex and get tested regularly) it's not just from "high-risk" partners that they can contract STIs. Sexually transmitted infections are equal opportunity. I know this may not ease your mind, but I wanted to clarify that. [Smile]

Regarding the guilt you're feeling, perhaps you could talk some more about that? Have you ben in a relationship before? Was this your first time experiencing sexual activity of this nature?

It sounds like some of it comes from having engaged in sexual activity with this guy whom you know to be "promiscuous". I'm not really sure what you mean by that term, particularly since you also say that he has had multiple partners.

Where do you think these feelings of guilt come from? Have you felt guilty like this about something before? If so, what steps did you take then to forgive yourself? Your discomfort about seeing him again at the organization you both belong to. Can you speak more to that?

Here's some information about STI testing and safer sex.

Testing, Testing...


Safe, Sound & Sexy: A Safer Sex How-To

--------------------
Robin

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Worried7134
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1. The situation I described with the small day-old cut on my finger - does that pose any higher of a risk?

2. I know that he had precum on his hands, which I had oral contact with - meaning I'm almost positive I got some in my mouth.

(Given the above two points - do you think I am at risk?)

3. I have never had vaginal intercourse, but I have had other sexual contact within the context of a serious relationship.

4. I have done this kind of activity when I was in a long-term relationship, so I felt safe and did not feel guilty about it. I've never had a situation like this before.

5. When I say promiscuous I mean that he has casual sex quite often and has had sex with many different partners - that is where most of my worry comes from.

6. I feel guilty because I had always considered myself too smart to do something like this. I feel gross, and if I did contract an STD - especially HIV, God forbid - my life would be ruined over one stupid mistake.

7. I am nervous about seeing him because I don't know what he thinks of me after this. I don't want him to portray me to other members of the organization as being easy or something. (Even though I know he was obviously a part of it too, I feel the standard is different for girls.)

I am at a time in my life where I am meeting a lot of new people, and to be honest, I would really like to find a relationship. Do you think I should hold off on dating and what not until I get tested? If so would I have to wait several months?

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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I'm still hearing what sounds like very low STI risks in this situation.

(Let's also be aware that plenty of people with STIs don't have ruined lives, just like plenty of people with other illnesses, okay? And hey, most STIs? Totally treatable. Doesn't mean we don't want to try and avoid them, just like we want to try and avoid a cold or flu, but still.)

I don't see any reason you need to hold off on dating because of not yet being tested. For starters, dating doesn't mean sleeping with people, and next up, if it does, and you're both using sexual safety measures (like barriers and handwashing) and being honest about the last time you were tested, then the other person gets to still make their own decisions, you know?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Worried7134
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I know that most STI's are treatable and that most of them would not necessarily ruin someone's life, but as I mentioned in my first post, what I am most specifically worried about here is HIV. That has the potential to affect everything someone will ever do.

Would semen coming into contact with a small day-old cut be a way of contracting HIV? I've read elsewhere that it would not really pose a risk. And then precum being transferred by someone's hand to someone else's mouth - would the HIV virus die when exposed to the air (for the time it was on his hand)?

And I obviously know that dating does not mean sleeping with people - like I said, I don't usually do things like this. I would just hate to meet someone and then lose them if ended up having bad test results...

Like I asked in my original post, is there any information/resources you point people to for emotional support? Dealing with guilt and forgiveness?

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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By all means, HIV is a serious illness. At the same time, I do think it's important to think, and certainly talk, about it and other serious illnesses soundly. People can have serious illnesses and manage them, and certainly have parts of their lives where that illness really isn't a factor, or doesn't ruin things, you know?

For instance, even when you talk about potentially losing a partner because of positive STI test results: know that there are people who have HIV or other chronic STIs who still have partners. Not everyone has the same attitudes about these illnesses, know what I mean?

In the situation you're describing, you're not talking about an open wound where there was blood.

The HIV virus, like every other virus, doesn't "die" when exposed to air (bear in mind the human body is filled with oxygen). The issue here is how it does and doesn't tend to transfer. And when we're not talking about someone's semen, blood, breast milk or vaginal fluids having direct contact with mucous membranes -- tissue like the throat or genitals -- than the only other vectors are those which can go into the bloodstream directly, like through needle sharing or fresh, open wounds. Direct really is the keyword here, if you follow me.

I don't see the situation you have described here as posing an HIV risk.

I'm not sure what you're asking for in terms of emotional support here. happy to look for resources for you, but can you give me a better idea of what you want in a resource? Emotional support with.....making a sexual choice you don't feel good about, or something else? Guilt about....?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Worried7134
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I was not being completely honest before because I am highly ashamed and embarrassed, but my mouth did briefly make contact with only the base of his penis.
I now have a sore throat, so I am obviously freaking out. I went to a clinic to get tested for strep but the initial test came back negative. The nurse said she didn't see anything out of the ordinary other than redness and that it's probably just a virus. I do tend to get sore throats once or twice every year, but I feel like this is too much of a coincidence to get one a few days after being with this guy.
I was going to wait and get tested in a month, but I think I have to do it sooner. Do you think this sounds like an STD? I know you probably don't have enough information to know. I was just wondering if you've heard this sort of thing before where it turned out to be OK.

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Worried7134
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(Regarding my last post) I just read that 2-4 weeks after infection with HIV, people can experience flu-like symptoms, including sore throat.

Is 2-3 days after far too early for this? Please answer, I am really scared.

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Onionpie
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No, HIV symptoms don't show up that early on. You also can't be tested for HIV right away since it can take up to several months for the antibodies to appear. Also, touching the base of his penis doesn't pose a risk of HIV -- it's spread through fluids.

I can see that you're stressing out a lot about this, but right now the best -- and only -- thing you can do is to try to calm down. Read over what heather has talked about here with you, and remind yourself that you haven't had a high risk of any STIs and that you just have to wait until you can test. Since there's no way of changing whether you have one or not at this point, and no way of figuring out if you do until you get tested, worrying about it isn't going to be too useful, you know?

Do you want to talk about going forward with this -- making sexual choices that you are more comfortable with so that situations like this don't happen again? Do you want to talk about what seems to be pretty high levels of anxiety you're having here?

[ 10-06-2012, 09:23 PM: Message edited by: Onionpie ]

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Worried7134
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Other websites are saying as early as 1 week and that common misdiagnosis include strep throat or other viral illness. Please, please answer.
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Worried7134
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Sure, I would like advice about dealing with the extreme level of anxiety I am experiencing.

Are you sure about early signs not occurring this early? I have been reading about acute retroviral syndrome which is the early flu-like symptoms of HIV that, according to some sites, can show as early as 1 week.

I am so scared because I have a sore throat - which tested negative today for strep. Like I said before, I do get sore throats once or twice a year, and I know a lot of people are sick at this time of year so it would be easy to catch something. But it just seems like so much of a coincidence.

I know most STI's are easily treated with antibiotics, but HIV would be the worst thing that could happen to me.

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Worried7134
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And I know HIV is spread through fluids, but I did have contact with fluids. 1. Semen and a day old cut on my finger, and 2. if I got any precum in my mouth when it made contact with his penis briefly.
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Worried7134
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I shouldn't have searched this on the internet at all... there is so much about sore throat and HIV...
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Onionpie
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You said you touched the base of his penis -- it's pretty unlikely that there was pre-ejaculate down there? And you know, I think reading up on this loads isn't going to help you here. It sounds like it is just making your anxiety worse. I cannot tell you 100% that you do not have HIV -- I CAN tell you that it sounds highly unlikely. The only way you can know whether you have contracted ANY kind of STI is through getting testing, which you have said you will be doing in a month.

Reading up before then is only going to make you worry more, so I really advise not doing that. You really can't do any more than you have done at the moment, so try to work on putting this aside for now.

With extreme levels of anxiety like this, we often find with users that there's some underlying anxiety conditions -- do you have anxiety around anything else other than STI risks? We also suggest for users experiencing anxiety like this to find in-person support like a counsellor, because they will be able to help you work through the root cause of your anxiety so you can work through it and cope with it.

I also suggest that from here on out you only take part in sexual activity that you're 100% comfortable with, using the kinds of safer sex you need to be able to feel 100% comfortable. Participating in sexual activity that you're not totally comfortable/feel ready for often plays a big part in anxiety, and it sounds like this might have been a part of this for you. Participating in only things you are 100% comfortable with may mean not participating in any sexual activity for now until you work through some of your fears/anxiety around this.

What do you think? Do you think finding a counsellor would be a workable option for you? And what do you think about laying off any sexual activity you're not comfortable with for now -- do you think that will help you with this?

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Worried7134
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I do have issues with anxiety in general, and I do already talk to a counselor, but I'm thinking of maybe finding someone else too who specializes in this sort of thing, because I am extremely anxious about this.

Are you positive it is too early to show any signs of being infected with HIV? I would think that like any other virus your body would respond to it in some way upon infection. And I am so, so scared that's what my sore throat is.

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Onionpie
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Well it would certainly be a good idea to mention this specific anxiety you're having to your current counsellor then. They may be able to help you through this, or, since you said you might want a more specialised counsellor, they might be able to refer you to someone.

You read in our article about HIV that the initial signs of infection show up at around 2-4 weeks. That answer isn't going to change, so I'm afraid you're going to have to accept that that's the answer we give. There is nothing else we can say about that, you know?

And I think focusing on it, and focusing on if this sore throat might-possibly-be-HIV when you have no way of finding out, isn't going to help you right now. Have you worked on ways of coping with your anxiety in other areas with your counsellor? Have you tried applying any of those strategies to this situation? If not, that would definitely be something to consider.

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Worried7134
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I'm sorry to harp on this, I really am, but I just wanted to make sure - you've never heard a sore throat this soon after being connected to HIV? So since symptoms don't show up for 2-4 weeks, my sore throat can be attributed to something else?

By the way, it was only sore for about a day and a half, not it's just an irritation/tickle in the back of my throat.

I'm sorry. I shouldn't have Google'd it. There is just so much on the internet about sore throats and HIV, I had no idea they were connected.

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Worried7134
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NOW it's just an irritation*
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Worried7134
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Thank you for your advice so far, by the way, and for being patient with me.
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Karybu
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It is far too early to show signs of HIV infection, on top of which, your risk of contracting HIV in the first place is incredibly tiny. Sore throats happen for a lot of reasons, and the vast majority of those reasons are not HIV-related.

Have you had a chance to discuss this anxiety with your counselor at all?

--------------------
"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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