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Dear doctor,

I am a young gay male who had unprotected oral sex a couple months ago with another male of unknown HIV status. During this encounter, I remember having quite chapped lips (although I don't remember any signs of bleeding or overly cracked) and he ejaculated on my lips that night (but I didn't swallow or anything). I was wondering if my risk of contracting HIV was high and if I should go get tested if in case he was HIV positive. I also remember a couple weeks after I developed a quite sore throat and cough for a couple of weeks. I am really scared and paranoid about contracting HIV and wanted to know my risks. Thank you

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replied May 14th, 2010
HIV and AIDS Answer A12085
Hi, welcome to the ehealth forum and I am glad to help you.
You seem concerned about the risk of contacting HIV after giving unprotected oral sex to your gay partner.
Giving oral sex poses a definite risk of contacting HIV if the guy is infected since pre cum also contains HIV virus. The more of these body fluids you are exposed to, the greater the risk of infection there would be. If you have any open sores, cuts, abrasions or gum disease in your mouth, the virus can get into your bloodstream. The risk is less than if you had vaginal or anal intercourse, but the risk is real, and transmission can occur. There have already been reported cases of HIV infection specifically through giving oral sex. In addition to HIV, while giving oral sex, you could also be at risk for other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including herpes and gonorrhea and even syphilis. You should refrain from unprotected sex as safe sexual practices go a long way in preventing the infection.
You can go for fourth generation HIV test if you are too anxious but the standard test that is offered at most centres is the HIV antibody test. The HIV antibody test looks for antibodies to the virus in a person's blood. For most people these antibodies take 6 weeks to 3 months to develop. In rare cases, it can take up to 6 months. It is extremely rare for a person to take any longer than 6 months to develop detectable antibodies.
You may have to go for repeat testing at 3 months and again at 6 months if the standard test at this period of 2 months post exposure is negative to cover for the window period. You can always consult your doctor who can best ascertain the reasons for your symptoms as the same cannot be diagnosed online.
Hope this helps. Take care.
Note: This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

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