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Ability to infect after exposed to HIV.

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if you think you have been exposed to HIV, how long does it take for you to be able to infect someone else? is it only when HIV shows in your blood stream?

Category: Family Physician-GP

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Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
 31 Doctors Online

Thank you for your query at
Once a person have been exposed, and hypothetically if he has been infected too, he will start infecting other people within the next 2-3 days and can spread on the infection throughout his life. HIV virus is a rapidly growing virus, and it enters the cell of a human being and starts modidying its RNA immediately after exposure. To infect other people, unprotected intercourse is required.
It does present with vague symptoms, and sometimes people don't show any symptoms for years, but that only means that the infectivity is low, however the person can still pass on the infection to others.

Patient replied :

Okay, so I had sex with a girl.. Not sure if she had HIV, but she gave me herpes on that night (HSV1) I had sex with another girl about a day later, maybe 30 hours later to be specific, definitely less than 2 days. I'm waiting for the 3 month mark to be tested for HIV, but I'm just seeking peace of mind because I'm paranoid that if I was infected that night, I might have given it to the 2nd girl I had sex with. The 2nd girl gave me oral and we had unprotected sex but I didn't ejaculate inside of her. It's been about 5 weeks since this happened and I've only had a slight fever, which was days after the sex with the first girl (because of the HSV1 I contracted, I'm guessing). I had no cuts on my penis or anything during this time. Are HIV symptoms severe? Any info would be awesome. I'm sure I'm just being overly paranoid but 3 months is a long time to think about this. Thanks for your answers doc :)

Thank you for the follow up.
I understand your anxiety.
Since you did not ejaculate inside her, the chances of spreading HIV automatically reduces by 80-85 %.
You can get yourself tested after 3 months, for a more conclusive evidence.
HIV can be completely asymptomatic in earlier stages. Except for a vague fever and at times enlargement of lymph nodes. The symptoms start appearing way later, and mostly in the form of opportunistic infections, like fungal infections like severe oral candidiasis, lung infections, oesophagitis (e.t.c )
Don't worry about the 2nd girl.
But for your own sake, do get yourself tested at the end of 3 months.

Patient replied :

Thank you for your answers. I'd just like to ask one more question relating to HSV-1
If a person has had a genital HSV-1 outbreak, are they able to give HSV-1 to someone elses genitals through penetrative sex even if they have no outbreak down there? If so, how likely is it? And is it unlikely that they will experience a second outbreak down there? seeing as it's HSV-1 and prefers to outbreak around the mouth?
Thank you so much for your time Doc.

Thank you for the follow up.
If the person does not have outbreak currently, it is unlikely to pass on the infection to someone else, however the possibility can't be ruled out completely. Again genital outbreaks with HSV-1 is again quite unlikely, and the outbreaks are more frequently associated with HSV-2. If you ask me about the possibilities, even though there has not been any conclusive study done, but 15-20 % chances of spreading the disease even without outbreak.
And yes more commonly HSV 1 outbreaks are caused by infected oral secretions, or by using infected toothbrushes, or through direct skin contact, and the infection is manifested in the oral cavity as cold sores around the mouth and lips.
Hope this was helpful,

Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy
Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
MBBS from Sri Ramachandra University in December 2011
M.Med (Family Medicine) - TNMGR University, Chennai
MBA-MPH in Public Health in March 2016, SRM University
Finished AFIH in March 2016, SRM University
MRCP ( UK ), Internal Medicine, Royal College of Physicians, June 2016
Fellowship in Diabetology from Martin Luther University in January 2017

Currently Resident Physician, in MD Radiodiagnosis - Kamakshi Memorial Hospital, Chennai
Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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