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Seroconversion symptoms
Jun 3, 2002

Do the following symptoms sound like seroconversion?

Three months after possible exposure:

Develop swollen lymph node in neck, sore throat, fever, fatigue. Two days later swelling in left parotid gland, fever, dry cough. Two days later, right parotid swells, very painful. Six days later fever,hoarseness, mucous in both eyes, severe painful swelling in both glands, more swollen lymph nodes.

Initially diagnosed with parotitis. Antibiotics did nothing. One month later symptoms persist, put on prednisone, symptoms subsided. Had minor symptoms for several months.

HIV test given at around 3.5-4 months after exposure, along with mumps titer, Mono and strep tests. All negative. Saw a rheumatologist who ran ANA, Anti-SSA & SS-B, All positivie. DX'd Sjogren's.

Fast forward 11 years, now have ITP, low WBC (2600), low lymphocytes (56 cell/mcl), band neutorphils (260), elevated protein (8.5), elevated gamma glob, elevated TSH 15.62, fatigue, occasionally swollen parotids (they're not swollen as long as I'm on pred). Also had thrush from high doses of pred. I've had four HIV-1 tests in last four years, all negative. My hema who treats AIDS cases thinks it is all autoimmune. Can the tests be wrong? Could I have stopped producing antibodies at the 7 year mark and hence the first negative result. Please answer,Dr. Bob. I am sick with worry. Should I request a differet kind of test? I am seekng psychiatrisc help and will not bother you again if you reply. Thanks.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Your initial symptoms 3 months after your possible exposure sound like Sjogren's Syndrome, and this is confirmed by the rheumatologist's tests.

Your symptoms 11 years (fast forwarded) are consistent with another type of autoimmune process, i.e. autoimmune thrombocytopenia, neutropenia with elevated globulins, adenopathy responsive to steroids, etc.

Can your HIV tests be wrong? No, you've had multiple tests, all negative, and underlying autoimmune diseases would not alter these test results. It sounds like you have plenty of problems to deal with just coping with your autoimmune situation. Why do you want to add HIV to the mix?

I'm very glad that you are seeking the help of a psychologist. Yes, you can make yourself "sick with worry". Hopefully, the therapist will be able to help you cope with your irrational fears of HIV, thereby relieving a good deal of your anxiety/stress, and allowing you to refocus your energies more appropriately on your very real autoimmune problems rather than non-existent HIV.

By the way, you are not a "bother" at all. I just want to remind our readers that this forum is primarily devoted to HIV-positive folks having problems with fatigue and/or anemia.

So, good luck.

Dr. Bob


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