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Author Topic: Really concerned by symptoms following sexual assault...any advice?  (Read 2186 times)

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Offline C73

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Hi all,
I posted this elsewhere (now slightly edited) pending my membership being accepted here as I was going bonkers, but would really appreciate advice from this forum too. My situation. I am a Uk citizen, a 40 year old single female, who has lived in NZ the past few years. A few months prior to the incidents I'm about to describe, I tested negative and had no sexual encounters.

In mid May (18), after a heavy night of drinking with a friend, I was sexually assaulted by a Brazilian guy. I passed out on the couch and woke to find him having sex with me. I freaked out and pushed him off me as soon as I realized. I had a bad feeling about him from the moment I saw him, and HIV was an immediate fear, tho a friend who works as a lab assistant told me pep wasn't appropriate (I now know that it would have been...) so I didn't pursue it. A few weeks later (8 June) l had consensual sex with an acquaintance. We used a condom but unfortunately it broke.

These are my only 2 sexual encounters in the past few months, although I did deep kiss a stranger and crashed out in his bed with him beside me. I awoke with all my clothes intact and did not suspect any foul play. In the weeks that followed these incidents, I have had persistent health problems which I have never ever had before. Around end of July I felt incredibly tired and came down with a really bad cold ( however, it included a severe runny nose, which I know isn't an ars symptom...)

In early August I travelled from New Zealand to the uk via thailand where I stayed five days. I did not have sex during this time and to my knowledge, had no blood to blood contact with anyone that could have infected me. Two days after entering the uk, on 11 august, I developed oral thrush (diagnosed) and since then I've had a great number of mouth ulcers, severe breatlessness, sore sinus and lips, a sore upper left abdomen, a sore jaw, and several days with blood in stool.

I have had two hiv duo tests, both negative, at 11.5 weeks, 13.5 weeks past sexual assault. But my symptons persist and both my gp and an a&e doc seem to think I should have follow up hiv tests, though they acknowledge that stress can play a huge part and exacerbate/ create symptoms. In addition, I've had countless blood tests all coming back normal, and the X-Ray showed no lung abnormalities ( re breathlessness.) I know symptoms don't mean much, and I know two false negatives are highly unlikely, but both times the negative results have come back, my enormous relief has failed to stop ongoing malaise, so the whole "it's the mind affecting the body" diagnosis hasn't stop me worrying. Any opinions/ advice gratefully received - I get my final test results tomorrow. I accept that I need therapy to deal with my unresolved issues following the assault, and am in the process of sorting this. I also accept that I have been suffering major anxiety over the past few months. What I would really like is advice/risk assessment based on the scenario I have described. Thanks for reading!

Offline Jeff G

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Re: Really concerned by symptoms following sexual assault...any advice?
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2013, 10:57:20 AM »
I have read your concerns carefully , your 13 week HIV test is conclusive that you do not have HIV provided you didn't have unprotected vaginal or anal sex 3 months prior to the negative HIV test .   

The average time to seroconversion is 22 days. Most who are infected will test positive by 6 weeks. For various reasons a small number will take longer and that is why we follow the CDC recommendation to test at 3 months for a conclusive negative result.
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Offline C73

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Re: Really concerned by symptoms following sexual assault...any advice?
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2013, 01:39:15 AM »
Thanks for your reply Jeff. Re: the 13 week test being conclusive...as stated in my post, I did have a possible exposure following the assault. It was on June 8, following a condom break. I tested negative with a Duo test on August 27, so over 10 weeks following that 2nd exposure (and 13.5 weeks after the assault). I know a negative result this late in the game is very unlikely and my GUM clinic say Duos are very accurate from 4 weeks, but would still appreciate any thoughts / advice.

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Really concerned by symptoms following sexual assault...any advice?
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2013, 01:51:52 AM »
Your tests seem absolutely definitive to me. As Moderator Jeff says, most seroconversion happens within 22 days or so, and six weeks is inching up to be the new standard. We retain the three month window to accommodate places that do not use the most recent (within five years or so) HIV duo testing.

I will bet that if you called up your clinic and asked what type of test they used, they would tell you.

"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 C73

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Re: Really concerned by symptoms following sexual assault...any advice?
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2013, 02:11:22 AM »
Thanks jk. My clinic definitely used the Duo for both tests, which is encouraging as I know they are considered accurate much earlier than the antibody tests. Until I hear the magic word I am still a tad uneasy, but your words are very reassuring. I should be getting the results in a few hours so will check back in.


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