“Risk of sexual encounters with sex workers?”
I had a couple of sexual encounters in Pune 5 years back with commercial sex workers. I used a condom both times but am highly unsure whether I used it correctly or not as I was heavily drunk. Six months after my first encounter, I developed psoriasis and recently bells palsy. I am having frequent colds these days. Do you think I need to get tested? I am very scared. I am going to get tested anyways but kindly assess the risk of my previous encounters.
Thank you for trusting me with your question. Condoms are extremely effective at preventing the spread of HIV, but of course, they are only effective when used properly. Psoriasis and bells palsy are not usual symptoms of HIV, but people can live with HIV for years without any characteristic symptoms developing. Since you are unsure whether you used the condoms correctly and since there is a relatively high percentage of HIV-infected sex workers, I would definitely recommend that you get tested. Testing is free, simple and confidential and includes pre- and post- counseling if needed. There is no need to be afraid. You can get tested at our office (Deep Griha Society, 13 Tadiwala Rd) or at a number of centres around the city, listed on the Getting Tested page.
It is always better to know your status, so that you can protect yourself and those around you. It is likely that you are negative, but if you are positive, know that people living with HIV can live full and healthy lives and there are many sources of support available.