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Author Topic: 12 weeks, negative. Is this really over?  (Read 9618 times)

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Offline rallph

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12 weeks, negative. Is this really over?
« on: May 05, 2012, 04:27:18 AM »

12 weeks ago, after a lot of alcohol I ended up having unprotected sex including vaginal sex with one of my ex-girlfriends. Although I am married, I did not feel any "strong" feelings like guilt, shame or regret. I would choose the phrase "very sad" to describe my feeling the next morning. No more, no less. I am telling you this because every single person who listened to this story started their response with "the guilt/shame/regret you were feeling can cause the symptoms etc..." even though that was not the case.

5 days after the event, I suddenly felt I was getting sick with something which looked like an UTI. Symptoms like pain on testicles, very frequent need to urinate, pain while urinating etc, but no discharge of any sort.

I am not a drug-friendly person. When I get sick I always try everything to heal without using chemicals if possible. At the time I didn't relate this to my recent sexual event, it just didn't come to my mind. So I decided to wait a few days to see if it gets better by itself, but the following days it got worse and worse so I visited an urologist on day 8. He agreed with me that it looks like an UTI and asked me if I had any unprotected sexual encounters recently with an irregular partner. I said "yes". He ran a standard screen for gonorrhea, chylamidia, mycoplasma, etc, all with swab cultures. I had to wait for 4 days for the results. He prescribed me a broad spectrum antibiotic to take while I wait for the results.

After 2 days, on day 10-11 after the event; I started to show additional symptoms which I would describe as "terrorising". To me at least, because I had never experienced something like that in my life. Migratory, dull and severe muscle and joint pains all over my body, especially on my legs and arms, neuropathy on hands and feet, sores popping up inside my lips, a white tongue, 3 nights in a row drenching night sweats which I had to flip the bed itself, not to mention changing the sheets and my clothes, dizziness, sore throat, dry cough, mild nausea and quite severe diarrhea, severe dryness in my mouth and on my skin (especially hands) which felt like something just sucked off all the fluids in my body! And worst of all: a terrible fatigue. I also developed an eye infection which I had to visit an opthamologist and use an arsenal of antibiotic drops for two weeks aswell. This was the first time I thought "ok, this is not an ordinary UTI, it is something more serious" , and anxiety started to kick in at that point. Surprising to me, never had a fever at any point by the way, while all this crazy stuff was going on.

When I went back to the hospital I was surprised to hear that all the culture tests were negative, but there were WBCs in my urine, so there was an infection allright, but nothing spesific. The doctor told me to finish the antibios and that was it. I asked him about all these new stuff which literally brought me down. He told me it could be flu or cold, probably nothing serious.

Unfortunately my general health went worse and worse every pasing day, feeding my anxiety more and more everyday. Eventually I had one last symptom which appeared on my right hand. An eczema-like rash which covered my knuckles, which also included folliculitis-like stuff in it, yellow puss coming out of the follicules. And that was the point I totally freaked out and rushed to an infectologist and told my story. She also aggreed that it was probably flu or cold, reactions of the body can sometimes be severe like this, etc. But she also advised me to get a HIV DUO test on day 28, and a following Antibody test on week 12. She prescribed me for some other antibiotics for my still ongoing UTI, which I had to take for 14 days. (The UTI eventually cleared off at last!)

From that day on, HIV got into and eventually consumed my life. I have been on several forums everyday for 10 or more hours. Unfortunately I saw how all those symptoms I had could mean something I had never thought of: HIV+. But also I read numerous times that when it comes to HIV, symptoms mean nothing, only testing can tell someone their status. But once you drop into that pit, there is no stopping, no turning back. I got more and more obsessed every day that I was positive, and ended up overtesting such as, 4-6-9 and now 12 weeks, all negative. During this time all the symptoms disappeared one by one in several weeks except muscle pain and neuropathy.

Ok now... I know that I'm most probably obsessing. I know that you will say it is conclusive (I can already see RapidRod responding "You don't have an HIV concern, move along." :) ). I certainly want to believe that it is indeed conclusive. I know that you will advise me to get psychological help (which I am already doing. Just two sessions yet), but it is so hard to believe for me for several reasons:

1) As a normally very healthy person, I had never experienced something this "heavy" in my 34 years of life. I feel like I was ran over by a train. My whole body just crashed all of a sudden, coincidently shortly after this damn sexual encounter. It is so hard for me to believe that it really is a coincidence. And worst of all, this question is still unanswered: If it's not HIV, then what is it? Can a simple cold or a flu really do this to a very healthy person for 3 months(and counting)?

2) Apart from all those symptoms which may be related to ARS; three totally unrelated infections in a row, a UTI + an eye infection + a gastrointestinal infection (nausea, abdominal pain, alternating diarrhea/constipation between weeks 8 and 10); points to a weakened immune system (i.e. HIV+), in my mind at least.

3) The muscle pain and this terribly annoying neuropathy still lingers. All this numbness, tingling, burning, pain is driving me crazy. I am tired of waking up with completely numb limbs. And peripheral neuropathy can be an early sign of HIV as I read in many articles, although I'm aware that you often say it is an advanced period symptom or a side effect of drugs.

My pschyiatrist tells me stress and anxiety can bring down an immune system just like this and cause neuropathy aswell, which sounds reasonable. But I wasn't stressed, anxious, or didn't feel guilty at all when I had the initial symptoms. And this ongoing neuropathy was one of them. That's the point I cannot get past and ease my mind!

Anyway... After this wall of text; all I am going to ask is this, and I promise I am going to ask it only once: Despite all those symptoms I experienced, and still experiencing, do you still think I can/should really take HIV out of my life now or would you advice me to go on testing for a few more weeks/months? The stuff I read here and there had many sentences starting with "in EXTREMELY RARE cases...". I am afraid to be that EXTREMELY RARE case. Someone has to be after all, right? :)

I will not go on with any "yes but"s or "what if"s. That I promise to you and myself.

Thank you, you are all doing a wonderful job here and I wish you all the best.

Offline Ann

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  • It just is, OK?
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Re: 12 weeks, negative. Is this really over?
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2012, 04:54:55 AM »

If all these symptoms you've been experiencing had anything to do with hiv, you WOULD have tested positive by now - most likely by that test you took at six weeks. Most certainly by week nine and definitely by week twelve. You do not have hiv.

The symptoms that some (not all) people experience are not caused by the virus itself. They are cause by the process the body goes through while producing antibodies. This is why I am so confident that you are hiv negative, despite your symptoms.

It sounds to me like you've had a combination of a cold or flu plus a bad reaction to the antibiotics. You most likely didn't have a gastrointestinal infection - antibiotics can and will do things like that to your gut.

Keep working with your doctor to find out what, if anything, is actually wrong with you. You have already conclusively ruled hiv out of the picture, so it's time to start looking in other directions.

You do NOT have hiv. You are conclusively hiv negative.

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

Offline rallph

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Re: 12 weeks, negative. Is this really over?
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2012, 09:42:26 AM »
Hi Ann,

Thank you for your prompt reply. I still had my doubts obviously, now I have my peace of mind.

As a follow up; yesterday as I was giving my blood for my 12 weeks test, I also asked the lab technician to run tests for HSV 1&2, Syphillis, Hep B&C, with the hope to find an answer to my "what is this if not HIV?" question. All were negative except Herpes Simplex Type 1, which had positive IgM and negative IgG results which pointed to an acute/ongoing Herpes Simplex Type 1 infection.

I guess now I have a bogey in custody as one of the causes of my illness, if not the only one. I will discuss these and further details with my doctor, of course.

I totally agree with you now that I don't have an HIV concern anymore. Once again thank you for your kind and prompt response.

I wish the best for you, and the people who are still seeking for answers. I hope everyone gets their peace of mind as soon as possible.


Offline Ann

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  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: 12 weeks, negative. Is this really over?
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2012, 10:11:34 AM »

A primary herpes infection can make you feel like you have the flu (this is common) and it can sometimes cause the other problems you're having with pain (less common but not unheard of). 

Make sure you 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

Condom and Lube Info  

"...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

Offline rallph

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  • Posts: 3
Re: 12 weeks, negative. Is this really over?
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2012, 11:57:44 AM »

Unfortunately I'm back. I'm sorry that I couldn't hold my promise to accept my test results, move on and keep out of the forums. But I'm having a really hard time.

The pains I mentioned on my earlier post are killing me. Especially the ones on my palms and soles. It gets worse at night and I can barely sleep only a few hours. My psychiatrist keeps telling me that I will feel better when the medication starts to kick in. But it keeps getting worse and worse everyday. The pain feels so "real", I just can't believe it is a manifestation of my mind. And like I mentioned before, the symptoms were already there when I had no anxiety or anything like that, at all. 

Meanwhile I developed three more canker sores on my gums. The ones that formed 3 months ago are still there also.

And this annoying headache... I wouldn't call that an 'ache', it's a constant dull feeling of pressure on my forehead, between my eyes and also my scalp; which gets worse when I lie down! This is the first time I experience this kind of headaches. And I have read somewhere that this kind of headaches may be a sign of low CD4 levels.

My current symptoms are:
- Pain, tingling, burning, numbness on hands, feet, arms and legs, and sometimes on my face too.
- Constant headache.
- Sometimes blurred vision in my right eye.
- Canker sores in my mouth.
- Non specific random rashes all around, especially on my shoulders. I get acnes, pimples, brownish spots, skin colored small bumps... Some go away, some new ones  appear every day.
- Often upset stomach and bowels.

I took another test following 13 weeks, 93 days to be exact. And it is negative too. Still can't move on with all this stuff going on with my body. It would be easier for me if I had only the usual symptoms like everyone else, like fever, lymph nodes, all that flu-like stuff. I did get some of them too (so I had a viral infection alright, which is still unknown. That HSV thing was irrelevant by the way. The doctor just dismissed it.) But in addition I had and still have neurological symptoms. This is what drives me crazy. Viral illness + Neurological symptoms + ARS symptoms = go figure. :/

Could the following case scenario be possible? The amount of virus that enters the blood stream is higher than usual, so the virus replicates more rapidly than expected, to a level enough to suppress the immune system even before it can respond, so the body cannot produce antibodies. In other words, a rapid progression to AIDS following the initial infection.

My ID doctor rules this scenario out by saying "if there's no antibody, then there's p24 antigen. If there was an infection, the tests you took would nail either one of them or both. p24 drops to undetectable levels only when there is enough AB to be detected. AB is what masks p24." Does it really work like this? Couldn't there be a period when p24 has dropped to UD level and AB is not yet high enough? I think it could, because otherwise a 3 or 4 week duo test would be considered 100% conclusive, and it is not, although many say it is.

Anyway, I took another test against all objections by all my doctors, PCR RNA this time (result due on Monday), which I know isn't considered as a diagnostic test. But I took it anyways. By the way, I cannot get why it isn't used for diagnostics. After all, it measures the amount of virus itself, not a by-product or a body response product. What am I missing here?

I would like some further opinions if possible.

Thanks a lot.

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: 12 weeks, negative. Is this really over?
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2012, 02:18:55 PM »
Just because you have not had a diagnosis of what is causing your "symptoms" does not by defaul invalidate your negative HIV test results. Doubts and fears and other feelings are not facts. Test results are facts.

You have reliably tested negative for HIV. You ARE HIV negative. Period. End of story.

Any further physical concerns should be discussed with your doctor(s).

I am also going to warn you that if you continue to return here when you are certifiably HIV negative you are going to find yourself getting a Time Out from this site.

Whether you believe it or not, HIV is not your problem. There's nothing more we can do for you in this setting.
Andy Velez


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