Could I be infecting my partner with Mononucleosis? Am I at risk? What can we do?

Hi there,
My partner and have been together for a few weeks. I recently got an sti screen and it alll came back negative (gonorrhoea, chlamydia, syphillis, HIV, hepatitis C, LGV). I also got immunization for HPV.
However, 2 weeks ago my partner was diagnosed with Mononucleosis. We did not have any contact for 2 weeks, until a few days ago when we met and kissed. He was not displaying any symptoms and felt 100%.
I haven’t developed any symptoms, but he is started to have pain again in his throat.
My question is, could I be infecting him? Am I at risk? What can we do? We are both foreigners and Helen temporary residents with shitty insurance that won’t cover test for us.
Any assistance will be highly appreciated
Hey Peter!
Thank you for trusting AlterHeros with your question. I understand it could be a stressful situation for your partner and yourself, especially because you are both temporary residents in Quebec.
From what I understand, your partner was diagnosed with Mononucleosis two weeks ago. You guys met and kissed couple days ago, after what he started to develop some symptoms in his throat. You also said that all your results about sexual health were negative.
First of all, Mononcleosis is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), typically occurs in teenagers and young adults, but you can get the virus at any age. The virus is spread through saliva. People with mono often have a high fever, swollen lymph glands, and a sore throat. Most cases of mono are mild and resolve easily with minimal treatment. The infection is typically not serious and usually goes away on its own in one to two months. Once you have an EBV infection, you aren’t likely to get another one. Any child, teenagers or adults who gets EBV will be immune to have Mononucleosis symptoms for the rest of their life. Symptoms are usually nonexistent or really mild on children, but they can be more serious when we can older.
EBV is a member of the herpes virus family and is one of the most common viruses to infect humans around the world. The virus is spread through direct contact with saliva from the mouth of an infected person or other bodily fluids such as blood. It’s also spread through sexual contact and organ transplantation. You can be exposed to the virus by a cough or sneeze, by kissing, or by sharing food or drinks with someone who has mono. It usually takes four to eight weeks for symptoms to develop after you’re infected.

Mono is almost impossible to prevent, because it’s really easy to catch it. This is because healthy people who have been infected with EBV in the past can carry and spread the infection periodically for the rest of their lives. Almost all adults have been infected with EBV by age 35 and have built up antibodies to fight the infection. People normally get mono only once in their lives.

So to answer directly to all your questions :
-Could I be infecting him?  No. If your partner was already diagnosed with Mononucleosis, it’s impossible for him to contract it again.
-Am I at risk? Mononucleosis is a really commun infection and not all people develop symptoms with this virus. You probably already had a EBV infection when you were younger and didn’t know about it, because almost all adults have been infected with EBV and already developed antibodies to fight this infection.
What can we do?  Staying hydrated and having a good rest are the best ways to fight this kind of infection. There is a possibility that your partner is still fighting the same mono symptoms of two weeks ago. It’s also possible that your partner caught a flu or another common viruses because his immune system was already weak. I understand this situation can be stressful and I really want to congratulate you about caring that much about your health and your partner’s health. But as I said, there is not much you can do and all the EBV symptoms usually resolve on their own in one to two months.
Do you know about the SIDEP+ clinic services? The mission of SIDEP+ clinic is to provide HIV and other STI prevention services to gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. This clinic give free support for people who don’t have insurance or the financial means to access Quebec care and services. So even if you are temporary residents, as queer men, you totally have access to this clinic.
Plus, Mono is hard to distinguish from other common viruses such as the flu. If your partner’s symptoms don’t improve after one or two weeks of home treatment such as resting, getting enough fluids, and eating healthy foods, feel free to take an appointment at the SIDEP+ clinic. At SIDEP+ clinic, you could also ask for a hepatitis A test : hepatitis A can cause symptoms similar to mono, the doctor will work to rule out these possibilities.

We thank you for your trust and please don’t hesitate to send us a message if you feel the need to!

Guillaume, for AlterHéros

About Guillaume Perrier

A social development student at the University of Quebec at Rimouski (UQAR), Guillaume (he/him) is passionate about the representation of sexual diversity and gender plurality in the context of rurality. An activist defending the rights of sex workers and HIV prevention, he also loves to put his toes in the salt water of the sea and spend hours under his blankets every morning.

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