Email 414: About Rashes and HIV Transmission

Posted by Pozziepinoy on 7:04 AM

Good day sir,

First of all I am really thankful about your blog, it really helps a lot of people, Especially me, this blog opens my mind about practicing safe sex to avoid the spread of HIV.

I came across your blog because of my dilemma before, I can say that I had almost all of the symptoms relating to ARS after about 4 weeks after high risk exposure ( unprotected sex ) before, with the help of your blog, after 3 months post exposure,  I took the initiative take the test in RITM clinic, luckily its non reactive and repeat the test again after  5 1/2 weeks of exposure with also non reactive result. Since then I promised myself that I will never engage on risky sex again to people with unknown status. 

But just last month, I engage again with a girl stripper with unknown status, YES it was protected the whole act, from oral to insertive, I thought I was on the safe side by that because I took precaution and used condom, but after 2 weeks since that act I develop skin rashes all over my body, chest, back, groin, shoulder, arms and legs. At first I did not mind all of it, but everyday it is spreading all over and it’s getting worse. That’s the time my past ghost hunted me, maybe the condom broke that I did not noticed it. These rashes don’t accompany any fever, I am planning to take the test once I got home by August, because I am out of country right now,  but for now I am really scared that maybe I contacted HIV even thought I practiced safe sex.

1. My question is does anybody here experienced rashes all over the body without any other symptoms?
2. Is it possible to acquire HIV even if you used protection or what is the risk of acquiring HIV if the condom you used fails?

Thank you very much, I know my questions are very odd and I know you will give feedback the best way you can, hope somebody with same experience would share their feedbacks. It will be really appreciated.


Thank you for your email and reading this blog.

I am delighted to hear that you tested non reactive after your earlier unsafe encounters and that you are now practicing safer sex all the time.  

To answer your first question about rashes without any other symptoms of illness or infection.  Rashes are generally caused by skin irritation, which can have many causes.  While they often subside with simple home treatment, yours has persisted for over 2 weeks and is getting worse.  This is a potentially serious situation and you should see a Medical Doctor ASAP.

Secondly, yes, it is possible, but EXTREMELY unlikely that you have contracted HIV from the activities you have mentioned.  To begin with, it is very noticeable sensation when a condom breaks.  Unless you were intoxicated or under the influence of some kind of drug/s at the time, you would have almost certainly noticed.  If the condom did break, then your risk of exposure is the same as if you had never used the condom at all.         

Please refer to this post on the difference in the risk of transmission of HIV during homosexual and heterosexual sex as it may also help answer any further questions you have that may arise. 

I hope you have found this response helpful.  

Dear readers, as always get tested, stay healthy, and if you’re on ARV, compliant with your ARV regimen.

Malcolm Brown.
International Contributor

NO PLHIV is alone with his or her struggle with HIV!"


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