Hi, im a recent grad (associate RN May 2000). Last week, I had unprotected oral sex for the first time and all I can think about is that I have the HIV virus. It was the most stupid, chaotic thing I have ever done. I do not even know the person's name I had sex with. Just that they are married and said thay had a HIV test 3 months ago and it was negative (info after the fact). Said "You're probably O.K." I know I need to be tested for a baseline and peace of mind, but feel embarrassed about the HUGE mistake I made. I work in the OR and am worried about job security if infected as well as patient and co-worker safety. I guess I just want to talk or maybe just hear advice about my dilema. Im very worried and there's no one to talk to about this.
Oct 21, '00
Hi RH. After the fall of Adam and Eve, human nature dictates that, more than likely, we all will make regretable mistakes. More important than the mistake is how we respond to it. I know there is nothing I can write that will ease your psychological burden, but I will write that you need to be tested as soon as possible just to allay or confirm fears and proceed with the grieving process. Have you checked your facility's policies to see if there is anything in place for the testing and reporting of HIV? Have you consulted with your doctor or NP? Once you see your doctor/NP, each state, I believe, has laws for reporting certain diseases or health issues by the doctor or hospital. In my state, HIV is one of those reportable diseases where the identity of the patient is not revealed. If you have the test and the results are revealed with your name, you could hold your doctor/nurse/lab liable for breach of confidentiality. I stand corrected if the above is not true. ER or public health nurses, in particular, are some very good resources for your dilemma in addition to your personal doctor/NP. You also may want to obtain the number for the STD hotline. I understand that this is a national program with a tollfree number. My prayers are with you.
Oct 23, '00
RH--As with the previous posts, we all make mistakes so don't beat yourself up over it. I am currently an RN in an STD clinic at a county health dept. and have had this question before. Yes, HIV can be transmitted through oral sex just like any other STD; however, the chances are decreased with oral sex compared to vaginal or anal sex. My recommendation would be to have a baseline drawn now and repeat it in 6 mos; we always tell our clients there is up to a 6 month window period with the average person starting to build antibodies within the first 1-3 mos after becoming infected but can take up to 6 mos. If this was a recent exposure, I would recommend abstaining from sexual contact or using a condom with every sexual contact throughout the next 6 mos. Another thing to consider is the person's history with whom you had contact such as IV drug use and sharing needles or previous male homosexual contact. I would also recommend having a gonorrhea culture of the throat done as well just to be on the safe side. It will be very difficult for you to bring yourself to be tested, maybe your local county health dept or another health dept close to you would be an option so that your anonymity can be protected. In KS, HIV is now name reportable and has been for the last year; just depends on the state you live in. Hope at least some of my advice helps, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any other questions.