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Author Topic: 100% sure I'm infected  (Read 3567 times)

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Offline alexthegreat

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  • Posts: 2
100% sure I'm infected
« on: August 30, 2008, 01:19:38 PM »
Hi you have a wonderful support forum here, I expect to be here a lot in the future. I really want to share my story but don't feel comfortable talking with any of my friends. Sorry this is so long but I want to tell the events in the order I experienced them.

I am 100% certain I have been infected with HIV and although I haven't been formally diagnosed yet I will get my results next week. Whilst 2 weeks ago I was clinging on the hope I may just be suffering from anxiety I longer have any doubt.

I am male, 25 and went travelling in SE Asia for 4 weeks between July and August this year. In Vientiane I had unprotected sex with a Botswanian girl I met. I should have known better but I was drunk.. Not that that is an excuse. I still knew what I was doing. Shortly after I entered her I did ask if she had a condom but she didn't and I didn't protest further. She just said to pull out before I came. What made it worse was that she was near her period, she did tell me. I'm sure I remember thinking at the time, "I'm sure it'll be ok this time". I should have stopped, found condoms, had some with me, whatever. I had felt nothing unusual for the next 2 weeks. I left Vientiane the day after, finished my last week of travelling and returned to work for a week.

The first symptom I noticed was some discharge from my penis. Researching HIV on the internet I could not find any reference to this being caused by HIV so I believed myself to be lucky I had just caught a bacterial infection. At 2 weeks after I first started to feel malaise. This started as a general feeling of unwell, which being after a night of heavy drinking I assumed to be a hangover. Over weeks 2-4 I went through various stages of feeling mildly feverish, night sweats, aching back muscles, gradually swelling lymph nodes in my neck and a sore throat. I've had a mild head ache that only seems to ache in certain situations but gets worse with drinking alcohol. I went to a clinic at 3 weeks for testing and was given antibiotics for the penis discharge, probably caused by Chlamydia, which stopped the dripping that day. At 3 1/2 weeks I also developed a very small rash on my chest that could have been any non-specific dermatitis. Maybe 10 faint, pea-size, flat, redish blotches. By 4 weeks the rash had proliferated across my trunk and a little on my head, appearing worse after exercise, and the blotches now had tiny pimples in the centre. With the rash I've also had a sticky white tongue.

All of these symptoms may be very non-specific and individually could be anything. But with the timing and the sequence of progression they seem to fit HIV infection too perfectly to be anything else. The illness I've been feeling is definately some kind of viral infection, but if its not HIV then what else??

I've searched pretty much every other STD and none have symptoms like this within the same timescales. Maybe Hep B? But the incubation period doesn't fit. I was defiantely had a bacterial infection so there was definately high potential for exposure. I'll get my results next week, these symptoms started before the test so there may be antibodies but what if there's not.. will I have to wait 2 months before the next test? I really don't want to wait that long. I'm convinced if I tested now I'd have a substantial viral load. Would that answer it?

For what its worth I kept track of my symptoms..
31/07/2008   0   EXPOSURE (Unprotected, x4)      
14/08/2008   14   Discharge
15/08/2008   15   Discharge
16/08/2008   16   Discharge, Malaise
17/08/2008   17   Discharge, Malaise
18/08/2008   18   Discharge, Mild feverish
19/08/2008   19   Discharge, Mild feverish, Night sweats
20/08/2008   20   Discharge, Mild feverish, Night sweats, Mild left chest ache
21/08/2008   21   Discharge, Mild feverish, Night sweats, Mild left chest ache
22/08/2008   22   TEST + ANTIBIOTICS
         Discharge, Mild feverish, Night sweats, Swollen Lymph (Mild right neck), Light head ache
23/08/2008   23   Mild feverish, Night sweats, Lymph (Mild right neck)
24/08/2008   24   Mild feverish, Lymph (Mild right neck), Light head ache, Rash (Small red blotches on chest)
25/08/2008   25   Spaced feeling, Lymph (Light right neck), Sore throat, Rash (Small red blotches on chest)
26/08/2008   26   Spaced feeling, Lymph (Light right neck), Sore throat, Rash (Small red blotches on chest)
27/08/2008   27   Spaced feeling, Lymph (Mild right neck), Sore throat, Light head ache, Medium (large small red blotches on chest)
28/08/2008   28   Spaced feeling, Lymph (Light left & Heavy right), Light head ache, Heavy (trunk & light face)
29/08/2008   29   Spaced feeling, Lymph (Light left & Very heavy right), Light head ache, Heavy (trunk & lightish face)
« Last Edit: August 30, 2008, 03:29:29 PM by alexthegreat »

Offline atlq

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  • Posts: 518
Re: 100% sure I'm infected
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2008, 02:38:22 PM »
HIV is transmitted through unprotected vaginal and anal intercourse. Since you did have unprotected intercourse with a partner of unknown status, there is a risk .

If a person has actually been infected, they will normally test positive by six weeks. A six week test must be confirmed at the three month point . A test at 13 weeks is conclusive.

Symptoms cannot be used to diagnose HIV infection. Only testing can.

Go to our Welcome Thread.

It contains all the info you need on transmission and testing.

edited for typo...
« Last Edit: September 01, 2008, 10:03:07 AM by atlq »
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Offline Andy Velez

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Re: 100% sure I'm infected
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2008, 09:43:50 AM »
Despite your fears and self-diagnosing, nothing you have reported symptomatically is actually HIV-specific. Not only that, but ARS, when it occurs, comes all at once and not in sequential events symptomatically.

If I am reading you correctly, you had a single unprotected incident. HIV is a fragile virus and not easily transmitted. It is significantly harder to accomplish from female to male. So the odds against it having occured in this single instance remain significantly in your favor. Obviously you do have to get tested since even low risk is still something of concern.

You can get a prelimenary result at 6 weeks after. All but the smallest number of those who are going to seroconvert will do so within 4-6 weeks. A negative at 6 weeks strongly implies you will continue to test negative. You should re-test at 13 weeks to confirm the earlier negative result.

And no less importantly you need to learn from this experience. Mixing excessive drinking and casual sex puts you at risk of doing exactly what happened that time -- forgetting about safer sex and not using a condom. You can have all the sex you want to and with anyone regardless of their HIV status. But you must do it the safer way which means that for vaginal or anal intercourse you always use a latex condom. No exceptions.

Good luck to you with your testing. Keep us posted.

Andy Velez

Offline alexthegreat

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  • Posts: 2
Re: 100% sure I'm infected
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2008, 05:37:43 PM »
Hey, I got the result back today.. it was negative which is clearly great news. How valid is it though, considering it is after only 3 weeks?

When I told the doctor I had developed a rash he seemed pretty concerned, but after he got my result he told me I had nothing to worry about and should come back in 2 months. Now I'm confused, do I really have nothing to worry about? He did seem like he wanted to go for lunch.

My understanding from Andy's post is that generally all serconversions happen at 4-6 weeks, hence considering I would really like to put my mind at ease one way or the other would it be a good idea to test at 6 weeks?

Many thanks,

Offline jkinatl2

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  • Posts: 6,007
  • Doo. Dah. Dipp-ity.
Re: 100% sure I'm infected
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2008, 05:56:59 PM »
Since we at AIDSMEDS do not as a rule discuss symptoms, our assessment remains the same. Most seroconversions happen within 4-6 weeks.

However, a three month window is still standard in most of the western world. A test before then, I suspect, will not totally assuage your fears. You had a single instance of unprotected sex. It is highly unlikely that you were exposed to, much less infected with, HIV.

A test at 3 months is all you can do. All you need to do. I do not see the benefit of a test before that, since it will clearly not eradicate the anxiety.

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

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