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Women and HIVWomen and HIV
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Mar 3, 2001

Several months ago, I was a victim of sexual assault. Approximately 10 days after the assault, I experienced vaginal pain (with no discharge)that lasted for quite some time. My gyno did several cultures and tested for gonorhea/syphilis/chlamydia & trich during the first month from exposure and then again at the 4-5 month point. All negative. He did not however, test for herpes as there were no blisters evident. The pain went away after about a month but has since come back. Doesn't itch, just pain (sometimes intense) and sometimes burning. Tested for HIV at 6, 10 & 16 weeks by Elisa - all negative. Tested at 18 wks by RNA PCR - no virus detected (range <400). I have another week to go until I go for the 6-month HIV test and I am terrified. My gyno initially said that he was so certain it wasn't HIV saying the three month test was critical and now I think he has changed his thinking saying we have to get through the 6-mo. test. I have been extremely depressed and anxious for the past six months despite my family doctor (who ordered the PCR) saying I was "in the clear" and a so called reputable AIDs testing facility saying the same when I attempted to order a DNA PCR and pay for it out of pocket. Over this six month period I have developed acid reflux and rosacea (being treated with Prilosec and minocycline respectively). At this point, what other doctors should I see. Perhaps, an infectious disease specialist? I am convinced that something is wrong with me as I have also had other symptoms (painful armpits, tingling in legs, headaches).Where do I turn?? I know that HIV-infected females also show gynecological symptoms, but how soon after exposure and how does an undetectable viral load correlate with immune compromise? Help me, please! Should I switch to a female gynecologist who might have more compassion for the pain I am experiencing!!

Response from Dr. Luzuriaga

With negative antibodies at 6, 10, and 16 weeks (and a negative RNA at 18 weeks), it is very unlikely that you are HIV infected. Many expert recommend testing through 6 months due to very rare reports of delayed seroconversion (antibody formation) in the days when we used antibodies to screen for infection. Now that we have more sensitive testing methods (such as the RNA assay that youhad done at 18 weeks), HIV infection can be reliably detected way before 6 months post-exposure. So, I do not think that your ongoing symptoms are due to HIV infection and I do not think that you need to see an ID or HIV specialist. I would recommend that you discuss your ongoing symptoms with your gynecologist and request a re-examination. If you remain uncomfortable with his opinion, a second opinion is always an option.


pregnant and very scared and desperate please help...
an odd sore

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