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Author Topic: Please help - symptoms of seroconversion?  (Read 9489 times)

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Offline veryworried1

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Please help - symptoms of seroconversion?
« on: October 23, 2011, 09:37:55 PM »
I know that there is no substitute for testing, but I was hoping to get some input from the knowledgeable people on this forum before I do get tested.

During this past summer, I met up with a female acquaintance I worked with for some drinks on a Friday night.  I had known her for about 6 months, knew some of her friends, and a bit about her personal life from working together.  Anyways, we had a couple drinks, which turned into a couple more, which turned into a  couple more.

She ended up coming back to my place.  Fast forward a bit, and before I really even knew what was happening she was on top of me.  We were unprotected for about a minute I would guess, and then I sort of came to, and realized what the hell was happening.  I quickly put on a condom, and we resumed.  We were both inebriated, so after about 5-10 minutes we just stopped, neither of us climaxing.  However, I realized after we were finished that at some point the condom broke.  I don't know at what point it broke, but the fact is I was exposed.

I quickly jumped in the shower, and scrubbed myself.

Fast forward to 2 days later - Sunday night.  I began to feel a scratchy throat, before bedtime (about 48 hours after the incident)  I woke up Monday morning and was in pain.  I called off work, and went to the doctor.  The Dr. took a throat swab (rapid test), cultured it, and came back to report I had strep throat.  He put me on a Z pak, and sent me on my way.  On Wednesday, 4 days after the incident, I was feeling worse.  I had a 103* temperature, felt weak to my knees, was sweating when under the blankets, and had white spots in the back of my throat.  I was sicker than I can remember ever being.  At that point, he gave me an injection of ceftriaxone (an antibiotic) and put me a steroid pack.  Thursday morning, I woke up and was feeling MUCH better - well enough to go to work.  My temp was back to normal, and the white spots were mostly gone.  I still felt a bit fatigued for a couple days, but by day 6 after possible exposure I was feeling OK.

A couple to a few weeks later, I woke up one morning and started scratching the hell out of my arm.  It was super itchy.  I went to the dermatologist, where I was told I had eczema and was prescribed a cream.  I used the cream for about a week or two, and everything seemed to be back to normal.  However, I found that I had a couple light pink "spots" scattered on my legs, arms, stomach, and a couple in my genital region.  They were not raised, just pink spots about half the size of a pen cap.  I went to the STD clinic, where I was tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea (both came back negative) and was examined by a professional.  The professional thought it was part of the same rash on my arms as they were discolorations that were not blistered or raised, and said to use some of the cream I was prescribed on these spots.  It took about a month, but I used the cream, and they are mostly gone now.  However, they did leave little white scars on my body, maybe a total of 20 spots.  Sometimes when I hop out of a warm shower, the area still itches.

Also note that during this time period (about 3 - 4 weeks after possible exposure), I was not feeling any of the other symptoms of seroconversion.  I felt the majority of the symptoms with the strep throat a few days after possible exposure. 

Could these have been symptoms of seroconversion?  I know the typical window is 2-6 weeks after exposure, but the symptoms fit.  I seemingly responded to the medications I was put on in a timely manner, although the rash has me kinda freaked out as it didn't really heal THAT fast.

I've never had a one night stand - and I'm ashamed of myself for putting myself in this situation.
Please let me know if you need any more details.

Thank you.

FYI - I'm a 25 year old, strictly heterosexual, male, non drug user.  I do not know her HIV status.

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Please help - symptoms of seroconversion?
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2011, 12:00:31 AM »
Nothing you describe sounds at all like an HIV situation.

As I am sure you know, your risk, though low, was nonetheless a risk. Only a test at three months will give you true reassurance.  I can say that it's unlikely you were infected from the experience as you describe it.

"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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Offline veryworried1

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Re: Please help - symptoms of seroconversion?
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2011, 08:37:07 PM »
jkinatl2 - thank you for your response.  It is most appreciated.

From what I understand, seroconversion generally happens around 22 days after exposure.  The majority of my symptoms (as described above) started to appear right around 48 hours.  I have read that the earliest symptoms of seroconversion *might* happen within 7 days, but that is very rare.  So, I do feel somewhat comfortable in saying that it was most likely a bacterial infection I came down with - seeing as how it only lasted 3 days and I responded right away to the injection of antibiotics - and also that a test showed I was experiencing a bacterial infection.

However, I guess what has me most worried is the rash.  I don't remember exactly when the rash started to appear, but I would estimate it was right around 4 weeks.  Like I said, I wasn't feeling any other symptoms at this point (4 weeks post possible exposure), other than the rash. 

It started on the crease where my elbow folds on the inside of my left arm, but was also present in the same area on my right arm.  I also had sporadic dots on my stomach, upper arms, back, and groin area.  The dots were pink/red.  I was prescribed a cream, which worked - but left white scars where the dots used to be.  From what I remember, they were pink/reddish in color, did NOT bleed (other than when i scrubbed them mercilessly in the shower one day), did not have defined borders, and did not really scab.  They just got fainter as I used to cream, until they were gone, but with marks showing where they once were.  I do remember that they were a little rough to the touch though - and also somewhat itchy at times.

Can anyone who may have experienced a rash due to ARS, or possibly have some firsthand info weigh in on this for me?  This is all I can think about - and it is causing an incredibly amount of grief and anxiety in my life.

Thank you kindly.

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Please help - symptoms of seroconversion?
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2011, 12:04:33 AM »
We normally don't discuss symptoms here st all, because HIV symptoms (even ARS) mimic about a thousand other illnesses/allergies/conditions. I CAN say that the current science states that the rash associated with ARS is located on the trunk, not the extremities.

"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

Welcome Thread

Offline Ann

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Re: Please help - symptoms of seroconversion?
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2011, 07:08:21 AM »

Further to what Jonathan said, the rash is also not rough nor does it itch. If you didn't see it, you'd never know it was there.

Another reason we do not discuss symptoms in any detail is because many people never experience a single symptom of seroconversion.

For us to give any weight to symptoms may lead some people who do not experience anything to not test, when they have had a risk and do need to test. The lack of symptoms is one of the reasons why so many people are walking around with an undiagnosed hiv infection - because they feel fine, they see no reason to test.

You are highly unlikely to end up positive after this brief encounter. However, you do need to test to make sure. You should be having a full sexual health care check up at least once a year anyway.

Here's what you need to know in order to avoid hiv infection:

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 sexually transmitted infections together.

To agree to have unprotected intercourse is to consent to the possibility of being infected with an STI. Sex without 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.

Anyone who is sexually active should be having a full sexual health care check-up, including but not limited to hiv testing, at least once a year and more often if unprotected intercourse occurs.

If you aren't already having regular, routine check-ups, now is the time to start. As long as you make sure condoms are being used for intercourse, you can fully expect your routine hiv tests to return with negative results.

Don't forget to always get checked for all the other sexually transmitted infections as well, because they are MUCH easier to transmit than hiv.

Use condoms for anal or vaginal intercourse, correctly and consistently, and you will avoid hiv infection. It really is that simple!


Condoms are a girl's best friend

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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

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts


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