HIV Prevention and Testing > Am I Infected?

10 months of Testing... Folliculitis... Scared - Help!


OK - here's my story:

June 06 - VERY brief protected vagial sex with So. American sex worker while on business. Never before, never again. Regret and grief is beyond words. however... I immediately fell ill right afterword with flu-like/cold-like symptoms on flight back to US. Been pretty much sick off and on since then - and worried.

Symptoms: dry mouth, folliculitis, pains in mouth/apthous ulcers, pain under right rib, odd skin burning (like dry skin, red - transient on arms and thighs), scalp pimples, lost some weight but gained it back, light diarreha, odd node pain in arms and groin ... massive anxiety.

First trip to ER (within days)- docs said I was probably fine, urine showed up clear and they said I probably had condom reaction (never wear them normally).

So, on to the tests:

@ 1 month: HIV 1 EIA, PCR, HSV I&II, HepPanel, Syph, Chlamid, Ghon, BLood word -- all negative/normal
@ 2,3 months: HIV 1&2 EIA, HSV I&II, Hep, Syph, several HIV rapids - all negative/normal
@ 4,5,6 month: HIV 1&2 EIA, HIV 1&2 PCR, Hep, Syph, CBC, Liver test, scans, etc -- all negative, normal
@ 7,8,9 month: HIV 1/0/2/ EIAs, several rapids, Hep, Syph, CBCs -- all negative/normal

@ == means I had these each of those months, not just at end of them ... Yes... like 70 tests in all. I know.. I know.

So here I sit at 10 months -- still freaking out that I am a outlier. I continue to have persistent (albeit mild) folliculitis in scalp, chest, legs -- and pain under right rib. All specialists, scans and tests (thousands of $$$) show nothing, negative, fine. I even saw a Psych for this.

My question is - can folliculitus (stated online as a "subtle" way early HIV can present as the immune system is slowly eroded -- i friggin hate how they word things like this) be a sign that HIV is fooling the tests and I still have it?

HELP --- can I put this behind me? The worry and symptoms are killing me already... ;-(

Much thanks - all the best.

You either need more time on the couch, a better psychiatrist or some good prescriptions, hon.

It is way beyond clear that this is not an HIV situation. 


Yes, please do put this hiv concern behind you. You do NOT have hiv. Hiv does not "fool" the tests.

There doesn't have to be a single thing "wrong" with you to get folliculitus. It's a common problem.

If you continue to have difficulty in putting this behind you and moving on with your life, I would suggest more counseling is in order. We cannot provide you with that here.

You ARE hiv negative. STAY that way. You need to be using condoms for anal or vaginal intercourse, every time, no exceptions until such time as you are in a securely monogamous relationship where you have both tested for ALL STIs together. To agree to have unprotected intercourse is to consent to the possibility of being infected with a sexually transmitted infection. Sex with a condom lasts only a matter of minutes, but hiv is forever.

Have a look through the condom and lube links in my signature line so you can use condoms with confidence.


Thanks to all... I also have had several CBC with diff and other blood/liver/sed rate tests. I may ask for the CD4 - but it appears that will be overkill, as you state (and I know). 10 months of testing - nothing out of whack but a little high cholesterol (which i knew from 2 years ago - not related) - no dr. will even speculate anything but absolute ok-ness (and one of my docs is the BEST infectious/AIDS doc in the area - big time award winner, harvard, the works...) - all lead to what I know = negative. It's just the damn symptoms and the timing are unreal.

I sure wish someone would do and post more research on specifics about HIV symptoms and testing... the range of what "is consistent with HIV" is useless at best, terrifying and misleading at worst. For example - every site like this one (Medhelp, AidsMEd, Body, etc) EVERYONE is posting with these symptoms after exposure, yet basically NO ONE is testing positive (AMEN TO THAT)... but my point is that the symptom-approach is meaningless. Unless----some site gets WAY more specific with symptoms (I'm talking photos, temperature readings, skin cultures, SPECIFICS!) the questions are the same, the answers the same - and offer little relief to the weary lurker. The leeway found in most CDC/WebMD/advice sites is possible more dangerous and contributing to HIV-paranoia than helpful.

Thanks again - I may test at a year to finish the set, as it were, but everyone is telling I'm ok. I need to tell myself.

Again, to reiterate - bacterial folliculitis is NOT an indicator of HIV (early or otherwise)?

Whatever your symptoms are, they have nothing to do with HIV. HIV has NO specific symptoms. This is not an HIV concern and it's time for you to move on.


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