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Is this a good sign? Please give your professional opinion!
Oct 7, 2002

Dear Dr Remien,

I am a 20 year old male from the UK.

Around a month ago, my 17 year old girlfriend was raped by a man who was known to be HIV positive.

She was started on PEP treatment immediately after exposure, but around 3 or 4 days before she was due to finish her 30 day course, she was very ill with fever, sore joints and dizzyness. She was admitted to hospital, and now, over a week and a half later, she has just been discharged. She is still feeling very weak and groggy, but is much better.

During this time, she returned a negative western blot, elisa and SUDS test.

Considering her very high risk exposure, what are the chances that she will remain negative with the follow up test in three months.

I know you would rather not answer, but in your professional opinion, given the fact that she has suffered symptoms of ARS, yet still remains negative, is this a good sign?

Your answer would put our minds at rest at least until the results in 3 months.

Many thanks for your continued work...if only we had people like you in the UK!

Response from Dr. Remien

You are right in realizing that this is not a question I can really answer with any authority. The good news is that all tests so far are negative. While the symptoms you describe can be part of an acute viral syndrome when infected with HIV they are entirely non-specific. That is these symptoms can be due to a wide range of possible causes. You'll need to wait and follow up with your physician. However, your girlfriend has done all the right things and has every reason to be optimistic about the outcome.


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