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Author Topic: I wish I hadn't done that...  (Read 2534 times)

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Offline Peter1254

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I wish I hadn't done that...
« on: February 23, 2009, 03:40:50 PM »
Please allow me to share my situation with you before asking a few questions.

About 3 weeks ago I had unprotected sex with a female sex worker in Asia. Started out with a condom, but the condom magically disappeared at some point so I had unprotected vaginal intercourse. I suspect exposure time was at least 15 minutes maybe more but canít be sure. I was pretty drunk (which only partially explains why I was stupid enough to do this in the first place).

The girl said she was tested 12 months ago (so what?) and was negative, but that does not give me much hope. Supposedly in this country the test the registered sex workers every 2 weeks for some STDs, but HIV testing is not mandatory.

Iím concerned that I may have been exposed to HIV as well as another virus. After the exposure, I had about 4 hours of sleep, then I didnít sleep at all the next night because I was under some major stress about the situation. On the second day I started to get sick. I understand that this was probably not due to HIV but please read on. I had swollen glands in my neck and I developed a fever, headache and body aches. It felt a lot like flu. Then on the 3rd day I developed a severe irritation in my eyes. Eyes were very red and very dry with a throbbing pain. No discharge from the eyes. At about the same time I developed an irritation on my inner thighs and the penis, which lasted 5 days. No nasty warts or any other discoloration down there. I had insomnia for the first 6 days, so not much rest at all. I saw a doctor early in the 2nd week, after a very brief interview she said that I have flu as well as some other kind of infection in my eyes. She gave me some antibacterial eye drops. I took them as directed but today I still have some discoloration in my eyes. Fevers and malaise lasted to about the 10th day. Fevers never got too high and would come and go. I started to feel better, except for my eyes, by about the 10th day. The next day I noticed my chest and face was a little more red than usual and this lasted a day,

Based on what Iíve read on various sites, what I described above probably was not caused by acute HIV. But, on the 12th day after exposure I got sick again. It started suddenly with swollen glands in my neck, fever and body aches as well as a bitter taste in the back of my throat that I had not ever experienced. Two days later (day 14) I developed stomach cramps and mild nausea (no vomit) that lasted a full day. About the same time I developed an itchy rash on the top of my hands that lasted for 2 days. Iíve had swollen glands on either side of my neck under the chin pretty much constantly since day 12, however on about day 16 these started to gradually reduce in size and I started to develop a sore throat and some swelling in my throat. Fevers stopped on about day 19. So my current situation (day 23) is as follows:

- Eyes still have red patches and a little dry
- Slightly swollen glands
- Sore throat, which seems to be getting better
- Energy is normal
- I just discovered a black, open ulcer on the inside of my mouth, which kind of completes the list of acute HIV symptoms
- I am freaking out, making all sorts of life decisions based on the assumption that Iím HIV positive. Work is suffering, etc.

Iím afraid I have contracted a couple of things, one of which may be HIV. Late last week I went for an HIV test and will have the result in 2 days. I understand that it would not likely detect an infection from this exposure, but at least it will be a baseline. I plan to get another test done on March 5 to include the HIV antibody test as well as the HIV DNA by PCR viral test. This is advertised to be 99% accurate after 28 days. Then I plan to get another HIV test after 6 and 12 weeks.

So here go my questions:
1)   Based on your experience and the symptoms I described am at a significant risk? Understand that I have to be tested to know for certain and I will do that
2)   Another person mentioned the PCR test, but seemed like there is some question about the reliability of this test. Can you comment?
3)   How long does a rash normally last during acute HIV syndrome, and does it always appear on at least the torso?
4)   Assuming I do not engage in any high risk behavior for the next 3 months, does it matter if HIV infection is detected after 5 weeks as opposed to after 12 week? In other words is there any treatment option that is available or more effective at the earliest possible time?

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: I wish I hadn't done that...
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2009, 04:02:30 PM »
HIV is a fragile virus. It is significantly harder to accomplish from female to male than the other way around. You had a single risky incident. All of those factors are in your favor. You do need to get tested. The odds are in your favor against infection but only an HIV test taken at the right time (13 weeks) can give you a finally conclusive result.

Your symptoms are not in any way HIV specific and will never tell you anything reliably about your HIV status. Since you're scared right now, it's easy to misinterpret anything that happens to you physically as another sign of your worst fears. You need to discuss your symptoms with your doctor to find out what the causes might be.

The PCR was not designed for diagnostic purposes. Because of its high sensitivity it sometimes gives a false positive. Get a standard HIV test when you do test.

You need to learn from this experience. Stop mixing casual sex with excessive drinking. It's a very dangerous combination. And make sure that anytime you have vaginal or anal intercourse you always use a latex condom. No exceptions. Doing that will provide you with very effective protection against sexual transmission of HIV. It's as simple as that.

Good luck with your test when you take it.

Andy Velez

Offline Peter1254

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Re: I wish I hadn't done that...
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2009, 10:08:09 AM »
Thanks for your reply. I will follow up with testing. I am still interested to know the probability of a false pos result with the DNA test vs. the potential for early treatment after 5 weeks. I still experiencing swollen glands like I have never experienced before. I don't know if I can wait 9 weeks with this junk.

Also I have read some recent papers that indicated that probability of transmission is about the same for men and women, a little less that 1% per exposure. Also I have read that the viral load in vaginal fluid is very high during servoconversion or when a woman has an outbreak of another STD. This can increase probability of transmission to 1 in 25 according to one source.

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: I wish I hadn't done that...
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2009, 10:17:20 AM »
We don't get into quantifying probability numbers here. It's not helpful and it is basically just more quesswork.

If you test negative at 6 weeks you are very likely going to continue to test negative. All but the very smallest number of those who are going to seroconvert will do so within 4-6 weeks after an exposure. The average time to seroconversion is 22 days.

It's absolutely not appropriate at this point to be discussing "early treatment. You need to stop surfing the net for more "information" that is only going to feed your worst fears without of course giving you the reliable answer that only an HIV test can deliver.
Andy Velez

Offline Ann

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Re: I wish I hadn't done that...
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2009, 10:19:39 AM »
Peter,

You don't have to wait nine weeks to get a good indication of your status. The vast majority of people who have actually been infected will seroconvert and test positive by six weeks, with the average time to seroconversion being 22 days. A six week negative must be confirmed at the three month point, but is very unlikely to change.

You'd be wise to wait the three weeks and get a standard antibody test. It doesn't matter what the DNA result is, it will still have to be confirmed by ELISA and Western Blot testing. You don't need the stress of a false positive DNA result. Trust me on that.

You really are unlikely to end up positive as a result of this one-time incident. Seriously.

Ann
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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

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Offline Peter1254

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Re: I wish I hadn't done that...
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2009, 11:16:49 PM »
The result of the test taken after about 2.5 weeks was negative. The symptoms I described above have mostly cleared up. Call me a symptom spotter but I am a bit concerned about this red rash that is now on my face neck and chest and less prounced in other areas. Will get tested again soon.

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: I wish I hadn't done that...
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2009, 08:13:59 AM »
A negative test result is always good to get. But as Ann has told you, it's only at 6 weeks that it begins to be really meaningful. At that point all but the smallest number of those who are going to seroconvert will have done so.

As for your symptoms, they are not in any way HIV-specific. And further, if they are going to show up at all, the symptoms of ARS come at one time together, not some now and others later.

You need to get busy with other matters in your life. It will help the waiting time to pass much more quickly than you may imagine is possible.

Cheers. 
Andy Velez

Offline Peter1254

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Re: I wish I hadn't done that...
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2009, 01:47:01 PM »
Thanks very much for your feedback

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: I wish I hadn't done that...
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2009, 02:01:36 PM »
You're welcome, Peter.

Andy Velez

Offline Peter1254

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Re: I wish I hadn't done that...
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2009, 12:09:31 PM »
So I am trying to take your advise and focus on productive activity. But last thursday suddenly got really sick. Went to the doctor with a 102 fever and nausea. Fever went away in 1 day but I was so weak I could hardly stand up for 3 days. Blood test came back with an elevated wbc. Not sure if this is a good sign or not relative to HIV. Doctor recommended I wait 6 months for another HIV test. Seems like he is relying on old information. I'll get tested again after 6 weeks anyway. I still have that rash. It's all very stressful. 
   

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: I wish I hadn't done that...
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2009, 01:08:18 PM »
OK, I can appreciate that you're stressed.

The elevated WBC is absolutely not an HIV-specific occurence and should not be misinterpreted as such. Nor are any of the other things you are experiencing physically including that rash.

You're right about your doctor. He's totally out-of-date about that 6 months testing date. When you test at 13 weeks and get the negative result you are most likely going to receive, you will be done with testing at that point.

Cheers.
Andy Velez

Offline Peter1254

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Re: I wish I hadn't done that...
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2009, 10:17:06 PM »
Just reviewed with my doctor in more detail, he said that although WBC was a little high, the lymphocytes count was out of range on the low side. This low lymphocytes count is indeed seen in primary HIV infection but also as a result of many other infections and other things. He's not worried about it, so I guess I'm not either. This is me not being worried.

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: I wish I hadn't done that...
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2009, 08:38:28 AM »
Good. Get on with your life in the meantime. I'll repeat that like Ann I do see the odds as very much in your favor that you will test negative.

Cheers.
Andy Velez

Offline Peter1254

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Re: I wish I hadn't done that...
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2009, 12:01:07 PM »
Andy,

Yes, I am working and getting on with things. I am trying to be positive and consider all of the possibilities other than HIV that could cause what I am experiencing. Trouble is i can't point to anything specific. At this point if feels as if a whole series of coincidences would have to come together for this not to be related to HIV. I never get sick and all of the sudden I'm sick for 5 weeks with all sorts of different symptoms. Meanwhile, I'm spending a lot of time with friends and family and none of them have developed any illness, so apparently I'm not very contagious. After the first few weeks of being sick I start to feel better but my face turns red constantly along with other parts of my body off and on - I considered this a rash but I don't know if that's accurate. Then I get sick again for a few days and while I'm fighting off this infection, whatever it is, my color is white. So my white blood cell count went up at that time, but not the lymphocytes, no they went down to 7%. Platelets are very low as well. As i got over that episode and started feeling better my face and neck get red again and other parts to a lesser extent. This is not normal for me. I look around at other people at random, and lot of people have this kind of red color, but for me it's not normal. Something is different. Trying to figure out what else could cause all of that stuff but coming up short. Doc is still testing for bacteria and parasites, but so far nothing. All of this just happens to go down when it did? I'll go for the test next week. I'm not as optimistic as y'all. I think I can handle the result, what ever it is. It's the thought of how a positive test result would affect other people I care about that worries me.

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: I wish I hadn't done that...
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2009, 12:54:01 PM »
Nothing you are describing is in any way whatsover suggestive of HIV. Period. If you have continuing symptoms that are troubling you then you should discuss them with your doctor.

We expect you to come through ok as far as HIV is concerned. We can't say anymore than that after evaluating what you've told us and we cannot otherwise diagnose anything here. 
Andy Velez

 


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