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worried sick ... losing my mind
Nov 28, 2002

I have been reading the Forum and it has been a great help but I think i still need to hear word from an expert as to what is actually going on in my head, if i am manifesting these symptoms or if they really do exist. Please hear me out.

Over 3 months ago a couple of buddies and I went to Mexico for a trip and the night before we came back, a couple of us ended up sleeping with some strippers/prostitutes (i dont know but i am assuming the worst, she had every STD known to man)... i had protected vaginal and oral sex with the woman. I didnt see any physical breaks in the condom but i am worried i may have gotten some of ther secretions on my penis while removing the condom. Does this pose a significant risk? How long outside the body can HIV survive? minutes, hours, second? 3 days later i had severe diarrhea for about 4-5 days, then i had some pretty nasty burps. About a week and a half after the incident i developed flu-like symptoms and had a fever of about 101 which last for like 2 days. i felt weak for about 4-5 days. the diarrhea had gone away on its own prior to the flu symptom onset. no rashes ... i got worried and went to the doctor during my symptoms.

His diagnosis was that i had picked up some sort of stomach virus (gastroenteritis) and then a secondary upper respiratory infection. He gave me a complete blood analysis and urinalysis. All looked okay. I mentioned HIV and he mentioned my white blood cell count would be through the roof for such an infection.

Still worried i kept looking online as to what type of symptoms people undergo and before you knew it i thought i was experiencing most of them. I still feel i all my lymph nodes are swollen but my doctor says they are not swollen?! i feel bumps in my neck which i dont think were there before.

Either way i had an Elisa done at 7 weeks and the results were negative. Ever since then i still have minor symptoms such as a cold which never goes away and what i feel to be swollen glands but my doctor tells me otherwise (i should take his word for it) and sometimes in the morning i have one or two moon-shaped white crests on the tip of my tongue and the taste buds on the tip of my tongue are red and a little swollen (thrush?) they go away throughout the day but seems to come on go as they please.

I guess what i am asking is: If a person develops symptoms caused by a possible HIV infection, does this mean they are seroconverting? So in my case if i develop ARS symptoms at 1-2 weeks, would this mean that if i was hypothetically infected the Elisa would come back positive at 7 weeks? Should i trust the results?

I have read that about 95 of people seroconvert by 6 weeks and about 99 do by 3 months. How accurate are these percentages?

I've spoken with most of my family members and they all tell me it's all in my head and to stop thinking about it. I somehow cant seem to though. Could anxiety and depression possibly make me feel this way as well?

Dottore, per favore, me dai una soluzione? Grazie da California ... io sono malato.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Buon giorno,

I agree with your family. Even if the Mexican Hoochi Mama's had "every STD known to man," you had "protected" sex. Vaginal secretions getting on your Mr. Happy while removing a condom do not pose a significant risk for infection. How long does HIV live outside the body? Not very long at all. I can't give you exact minutes, because it depends on many factors - type of secretions (blood, semen, etc.), ambient temperatures, amount of secretions, etc. What about your symptoms? Diarrhea for 4-5 days that occurred 3 days after your Mexican nookie? Hello! You were in Mexico, right? Who doesn't get diarrhea after visiting Mexico? Your doctor's diagnosis of gastroenteritis sounds most likely to me. However, I don't really agree with him/her that your white count would be "through the roof" if you had HIV. That may or may not occur. The only way to detect HIV is via a specific HIV test. Your HIV ELISA at 7 weeks (odd time to get the test done, by the way) is negative, and that's encouraging. If you want to get an accurate HIV test, you should technically wait 3 months. Since your exposure was at best miniscule (most likely, non-existent), I don't think you even need to be tested. However, if you think you do, get the test done at 3 months (not 7 weeks). It will be negative. Your tongue symptoms do not sound like thrush, by the way.

Yes, 99+ percent seroconvert by 3 months. Yes, anxiety can cause all sorts of symptoms. Worried-wells, please refer your questions to the HIV Prevention/Safer Sex Forum. Stay well.

Dr. Bob


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