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I had an unprotected sex with a gf about 3 years ago and I…

I had an unprotected...

I had an unprotected sex with a gf about 3 years ago and I have not experience any symptoms up till date except casual flu which goes after one or two days. I just started getting worried about HIV and I have read in the internet that it is possible to have HIV and not show any symptoms. I am really worried about going for a test and I just want to enquire if I am at high risk of contracting the virus as a result of one episode of unprotected sex I had 3 years ago. I also want to know why some people infected with the virus don't experience early symptoms of HIV. Thanks.. Paul

Doctor's Assistant: Is this your first time reaching out for information about this? In general, how would you describe your overall health?

Great

Doctor's Assistant: Anything else in your medical history you think the doctor should know?

Nothing. I have a very good health

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Answered in 10 minutes by:
9/18/2017
Dr. J
Dr. J, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 903
Experience: Gynecologist
Verified

Hi there. Board-certified obgyn but I have a lot of experience treating couples for STD. Preparing a response and will be with you momentarily.

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In response to your question, while it is possible to contract HIV from a single episode of unprotected intercourse, the chances are very low, on the order of < 0.1%. (In fact, receptive anal sex and receptive vaginal sex have higher rates of HIV transmission, and those are still very low, like < 1/1000 for a single act of unprotected intercourse.

That being said, I offer STD testing to all my patients (including bloodwork to screen for HIV) yearly. You can get free or low-cost testing at your local Health Department or just ask your doctor for a full STD screen (this would be my recommendation, so you can give yourself a clean bill of health!).

HIV takes time to do its damage on the human body, which is why people can carry it for years before learning of their diagnosis. The reason why HIV is dangerous is because it attacks the cells of your immune system (these are the cells that fight off infections) leaving someone with uncontrolled HIV susceptible to all sorts of infections. This does not happen right away; the effects occur over several months or even years. Again, your symptoms do not particularly raise a red flag for me but I think STD testing will give you a lot of peace of mine, not to mention protect yourself as well as your future partners. Good luck to you. Please leave a review if you're satisfied with this answer.

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Customer reply replied 12 months ago
Thanks for the response. My mind is a little bit at peace although I have plans to go for the HIV test

The odds are definitely in your favor but getting tested is exactly what I would recommend.

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Customer reply replied 12 months ago
I asked earlier on that why is that some people don't show early symptoms shortly after exposure while some people do. I also read in the internet that HIV is a very difficult virus to contract and that the rate of men contracting HIV from a woman is lower compared to females contracting it from males.
Lastly, I want to know if it is true that males that are circumcised are at a lower risk of contracting HIV through vaginal intercourse than uncircumcised males.

1) Everyone's immune system will respond differently to the HIV virus. There are some (rare) people out there who have genetic mutations affecting their immune system that will make them never susceptible to HIV. There's a huge spectrum with a lot of variation between all of us as to how easily hijacked our immune systems can be by HIV. So some people's immune systems will be suppressed relatively quickly by the HIV virus while others won't feel the effects for years. HIV.gov has some good info about HIV/AIDS if you want to learn a little bit more about the virus.

2) What you read is correct. Transmission rates are relatively low compared to many other STDs (hence when we check people for STDs we typically just get a full screen of all STDs). Yes, much easier for females to receive HIV through receptive vaginal intercourse compared to a female passing it to a man through vaginal intercourse.

3) Yes, circumcised males are at a lower risk of contracting HIV via vaginal intercourse compared to uncircumcised males. Probably the foreskin plays some role in providing a route for the virus to enter. Regardless of circumcision the transmission rate is still exceedingly low.

Please leave a rating if you are satisfied with these responses.

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Customer reply replied 12 months ago
Thanks very much for your quick response. Lastly why is it that one couple while be HIV positive whilst the other is negative despite years of having unprotected vaginal intercourse.

Because as I mentioned in response to question #1, there are some people who possess a genetic variant that makes their immune system NOT susceptible to infection from HIV. Genes are bits of "code" that we pass on from generation to generation. They determine things like our hair color and eye color. Certain genetic variants will make some people prone to developing certain cancers. Other genetic variants cause the red blood cells of your body to be formed in such a way that you can never be infected with malaria. The billions of people in this world each have a distinct genetic makeup. Just like any of these genes (of which we have trillions), there is a gene that determines what your immune system will be like. I would not describe the particular genetic variant that protects one from HIV as being common. This article from NPR a few years back explains it in great detail. I would encourage you to check out hiv.gov to educate yourself more about the many great intricacies of HIV. It is a fascinating virus that people dedicate their entire lives and careers to the study of. I thank you in advance for your rating.

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If you feel like I've adequately answered your question, please leave a rating. Thank you!

Dr. J
Dr. J, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 903
Experience: Gynecologist
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Customer reply replied 12 months ago
Hello I just want to know if it is possibly for a couple to be infected by HIV virus and both of them will not present with early HIV symptoms after exposure to the virus.

That would be possible. The HIV virus can take time to manifest itself as an illness in both partners.

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
Good evening, I have read in some publications that it is very rare for HIV to be transmitted through a single episode of unprotected vaginal sexual intercourse. Some expert in the field of std even suggested they won't even recommend an HIV test for same. Please I will really appreciate if you can shed more light on this. I made a terrible mistake of having a one off unprotected sex with a female friend of unknown status three years back. Although I have gone for the test last week and will be getting the result next week. What are my chances of contracting the virus as i am really terrified over what the outcome of the test will be. Will really appreciate if you respond back to my query..paul
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