HIV Prevention and Testing > Am I Infected?

Toxicity of PEP medications ?


Dear moderators and other knowledgable folks,
Thanks for all your humanitarian efforts. I had unprotected insertive vaginal sex with a promiscuous female in mid April and was then treated by the ER doc with Combivir/Tenofovir for 4 weeks for this exposure. I had an 8wk ELISA test (neg) on June 11th (4wks after completion of PEP) and a 9wk RNA-PCR test(not-detected) on June 16th (5wks post completion of PEP). I however am still very freaked out and keep finding new symptoms on myself everyday : neck/groin lymph nodes, chills, bone and joint pain, weakness, night sweats, couple of red spots on my legs, but no fevers. I don't know if the 8wks test meant anything and if I should be reassured at all ? What is the BEST timeline for further testing to definitively rule out the disease (given that I was on PEP for the 1st 4wks)? Please write back any helpful  information about my likelyhood of having acquired HIV form this horrible mistake. Thank you so much.


You didn't really need PEP for your incident.

It's highly unlikely that your test results will change. A test result at three months after your last dose of PEP will give you a conclusive result. I'm fully expecting it to be negative and so should you.


Andy Velez:
Aloha, the odds are in your favor that you will come out of this experience ok as far as HIV is concerned. HIV is not an easy virus to transmit. It is significantly more difficult to accomplish from female to male.

Given that you have had a single possible exposure and have already tested negative at 4 weeks after completing PEP, the likelihood is you're going to continue to test negative. The average time to seroconversion is 22 days. All but the very smallest number of those who are going to seroconvert will do so withing 4to6 weeks after an exposure to the virus.

To be absolutely certain of your negative status, you should re-test at 13 weeks after the completion of PEP.

As for your symptoms, there is absolutely nothing HIV specific about any of them. But then neither the presence nor the absence of symptoms is ever the way to know about HIV status. Only an HIV test taken at the proper time, (the CDC recommends 13 weeks after a risky incident), will give you that answer.

You do need to learn from this incident. You can have intercourse with whomever you like as long as you consistently use latex condoms everytime. NO EXCEPTIONS! After all, low risk is not the same as no risk.

If your symptoms persist you should discuss them with your doctor. I don't see this as an HIV situation.

Good luck with re-testing. I expect you will come out of this ok.


I had an unprotected sexual exposure to a person in mid April who had a high likelyhood of being HIV positive. I approcahed my primary doctor the next day and he, not being an HIV expert, started me on Combivir, Kaletra, and Viread (Tenofovir) for PEP. I took all of them as prescribed for 2 weeks but was having too many side effects (GI, acidosis etc) and had to stop Kaletra after 2wks but continued and finished Combivir and Viread as prescribed for 28days. For the last few months since stopping my meds I have been having mirgratory bone pain, upset stomach with bitter metallic (not like GERD) taste in my mouth, generalized weakness, and 2 "knots" that have shown up on my body that are painful (one on my R mid scapular region and one just in front of my R ear (not responsive to NSAIDS or muscle relaxant). My latest tests were done 3days ago on Sept 4th (a little over 20wk post exposure and 16wk post PEP) that showed a negative HIV-1/2 Ab ELISA, and an undetectable (<100) HIV1 RNA level. So I doubt that HIV is the cause for these symptoms. However I am concerned over the toxigenicity of these drugs. I know that they are fairly new and not well studied and the regimen that was prescribed to me was probably a little overkill. But are you aware of the above meds having any carcinogenic potential or other side effects that might explain my symptoms. Please make any recommendations on what I should do from this point.. Thanks for your help.


I've merged your new thread into your original thread - where you should post all your additional thoughts or questions. It helps us to help you when you keep all your additional thoughts or questions in one thread.

If you need help finding your thread when you come here, click on the "Show own posts" link under your name in the left-hand column of any forum page.

I also deleted the thread you started in the Treatment forum. As someone who is not hiv positive, you should not be posting in any forum other than this one or the Off Topic forum. And keep in mind that Off Topic means it has nothing to do with hiv.

Please also read through the Welcome Thread so you can familiarize yourself with our Forum Posting Guidelines. Thank you for your cooperation.

You are indeed hiv negative. Make sure you use condoms for anal or vaginal intercourse, correctly and consistently, and you will remain hiv negative.

The short period of time you were on the meds should not cause any lasting ill effects. Please see your doctor about your physical problems. We cannot diagnose them here.



[0] Message Index

Go to full version