A reader tells the doctor that he’s been feeling unwell 3 years after having a sexual encounter with two guys. Doctor Nitin Shori Medical Director of Pharmacy2U.co.uk answers his concerns.
I had sex with 2 guys about 3.5 years ago. Different times just once each both times with latex condom. I have looked up HIV symptoms and I am freaking out. At some point (I can’t remember how close to these events) I had a bad case of tonsillitis with tiredness and fever and I also suffer from seborrheic dermatitis, which is at least 3 years old (although a shampoo called Nizoral controls it).
How likely is it that I got HIV from these encounters? I have taken a test recently but the wait is damaging my mental health. I can’t eat or sleep and I see symptoms in everything, especially as I get more tired. I even felt I had aids related dementia as my alertness deteriorated.
HIV is mainly transmitted through unprotected sex (without a condom) and the sharing of contaminated injecting equipment (eg. needles to inject drugs with).
As you used protection, there is a low risk that you could have contracted HIV from the sex you had. However, you have done the correct thing and got yourself tested. If you have unprotected sex or think you could have been exposed to HIV through penetrative or oral sex, or drug use, it is always worth getting checked out.
Although there is no cure for HIV, new treatments mean those with the disease can live long, normal and healthy lives.
If you are anxious about the wait for your results, speak to your GP, who will be able to offer support and advice
To help prevent HIV, always use a condom when having sex and never share needles or other injecting equipment (spoons, swabs or syringes).
Stress can cause you to forget things or become tired quickly, so your symptoms could be a reaction to your wait for your results. If your tiredness and forgetfulness continues, speak to your GP who will be able to arrange some simple tests for conditions such as anaemia or a vitamin deficiency.