Greetings! First of all thank you great people of STI community, back in 2013 you really helped me to get through a bad period of syphilophobia. Now back in 2021 it reared its ugly head again.
Male, 41 yrs, a foreigner living in Mainland China. I am not a medical professional, but I teach medical English and do a lot of medical researh translations, including STI field. I've never had an STI before and always practise protected sex.
16 days ago I had a protected vaginal sex with a lady i met online. I tried to play safe but we had some French kissing (there were no signs of lesions on her lips or tongue). That was my only exposure in two recent years.
8 days past exposure I developed a unilateral pharyngitis on the left with a fairly tender cervical lymph nodes (it was painful to turn my head to the left). I freaked out that it could be a gonorrheal pharyngitis from kissing (must be my phobia playing tricks on me) and went to see an ENT doctor, who assured me that my pharyngitis is very mild and should go away it a few days. I asked for a swab, but the doctor said only big teaching hospitals do it.
I felt reassured and somewhat better for a couple of days but then my phobia did strike again. The pharyngitis returned, quite mild, no tenderness in the nodes, but quite persistent (today is day 8) and it produces lots of runny transparent mucus. For all those 8 days I have been worried sick (imagining crazy things like tonsilar chancre, guess, old habits die hard). If not that "exposure" and my STI phobia I am sure I wouldnt notice it much.
So I booked a syphilis, HBV and HIV blood tests on 30 days post exposure, just to feel safe. I know my risks are miniscule, so I dont worry much about those.
But I am still worried about my phangytis. It is tricky to test now as China anti-covid policies are very strict and sore throat makes me a "suspected covid case" with an access only to an emergency clinic where they dont do fancy stuff like oral swabs for throat gonorrhea.
So, what should I do:
1. try to wait for the current covid outbreak to subside to get a throat swab and test it for gonococci. It is very tricky as only a few clinics do it (NAAT test is never done at all, only cultures).
2. try a home testing kit? never found any data on its reliability.
3. try to fight my phobia without testing, hoping my sore throat would go away after I overcome my anxiety and find some peace of mind?
and the biggest question is: is transmission of gonorrhea via deep kissing is a real thing? Wouldn't it be very common that way?
Sorry for quite a lengthy post, but I really feel much better now. Living in a foreign country, it is hard find professional help for my anxiety issues. Luckily, there is your community.
Thanks a bunch.