Q. After a high-risk exposure, I have burning sensation in the penis. Is it due to HIV?

Answered by
Dr. Yousef Abbas
and medically reviewed by Dr. K Shobana
This is a premium question & answer published on Mar 09, 2021 and last reviewed on: Apr 10, 2021

Hi doctor,

I have two issues to ask you and kindly help me. Before four months, I had a high-risk exposure to HIV. I dismissed it and I lived my life normally. After a month, I got a COVID-19 infection. I had loss of taste and smell with oral thrush. At this point, I forgot about HIV due to the present circumstances and being abstinent. After a month, I started to have a burning sensation in my penile and it lasted for three days. Before that, I took 1 g of Azithromycin and it did not help me. I consulted a doctor and he ruled out that it is not STD and told me that I have epididymitis. I took a urine culture and did tests for all STDs. All the results came back negative.

I got panicked and freaked out after having a conversation with my brother. I did an HIV test again and it came back negative. I got some relief and epididymitis caused less pain. But I felt that I was living in hell. Then again, I took an HIV PCR test after a week and another HIV p24 antigen test after a week. All the results came back negative. Then I waited for a week and took another p24 test and it came back negative. I felt much better. Now, I still have anxiety and I find myself sinking with it. I am worried a lot. I cannot come out of it. What to do? Am I still at risk? I feel that I am going crazy due to this and it has impacted my work and study.

Epididymitis was treated by Ciprofloxacin and I forgot to take it. Due to my negative urine culture results and persisting symptoms, the doctor prescribed me Ceftriaxone 1 g IM daily for seven days and Doxycycline for ten days. I was improving a lot but my symptoms were persistent. So again I tested for tumor and prostate. Both the results came back negative.

My imaging showed me Varicocele. Before two months, I did my last HIV test and it came back negative. I went to do surgery for varicocele. Today, I have some inflammation with pin and needle pain in my penis, shaft, and tip. I have discomfort and dull pain in the area right under the testicles between the anus and coil. My epididymis looks engorged on the ascending part. Still, I have oral thrush.



Welcome to

I can feel your anxiety. HIV 1 (human immunodeficiency virus 1) or HIV 2 tests with or without p24 antigen tests are accurate. You have spent more than a couple of months than others in your life for testing. You have done a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and HIV antibody test after three months of exposure as you want to be on the safer side of a hundred percent. I recommend doing another HIV antibody test and a standard panel to rule out other STD (sexually transmitted diseases) and hepatitis C antibody tests.

HIV tests are approximately ninety-eight percent reliable after three months. Hepatitis C is ninety percent reliable. As you want a hundred percent, hepatitis C and HIV antibody tests are accurate more than ninety-nine percent when it is taken after six months. But for having maximum safety, you can do another test after a month. I am extremely sure that you will have a negative result for HIV. But hepatitis C tests should be done after six months.

The experiencing discomfort does not seem to be due to varicocele. It seems that you are suffering from prostatitis type 3b. It is totally benign and it is a self-limiting condition. It is common in men between 20 and 40 years of age. It does not require treatment but it can cause weird sensations on the top of the penis, scrotum, and anus. Taking antibiotics does not help you in prostatitis type 3b and it affects your general health.

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