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Neuropathy, Weird Things going on?????
Feb 4, 2003

Hi Dr. Bob,

First of all, I'd like to say that you are definetely the coolest Dr. in the world. I enjoy all of your great answers and wasn't going to write, but something is really troubling me lately and I thought that maybe you could help me out. My risk is insertive oral sex with short-term ex-girlfriend of unknown status about 10 months ago. I actually called her and she assured me she was negative with nothing to worry about, for whatever that is worth. I knew insertive oral sex was pretty low risk going into it in the first place, but I got sick about six weeks later--bad headaches, extremely tired, and big ulcer--- no fever, just really tired and the headaches. This lasted for about a week and a half. I was comforted by reading the website that it probably wasn't ARS, just "some" virus. Dr. did not even see the need for an HIV test, and parents were not even concerned. I was done with this until my feet began aching about 6 months later while I was in Europe. Granted we were walking about 2-3 miles a day. But I am only 22 and figure that my feet should not be this sensitive and that women usually are more prone to plantar fasciitis than men. At first it was just pain in the heels. I went to orthopedist and he said it was plantar fasciitis. He gave me exercises to perform. There has been no improvement in this time and constant terrible tingling has started in toes and ankles about 3 months ago or so. I also have a constant neck ache that I have heard can coincide with the PN. In addition, some experts on this site say neuropathy happens later in HIV, some say it can happen at any time?? I feel like my grandma or something with my feet hurting and bothering me all the time!! This is definetely the weirdest thing that has happened with my body and I am pretty concerned. Do you think I am a rare case that has caught HIV by receiving oral sex? I have also been extremely tired these past months and the neck thing stinks. Thanks again Dr. Frascino, you are doing a great job...

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

The coolest Dr. in the world? Really? Cooler than George Clooney when he was on E.R.? Gee, thanks man!

Do I think you are "a rare case that caught HIV by receiving oral sex?" Absolutely not. Insertive oral sex carries an extremely low risk. Your "short-term ex-girlfriend" assures you she's fine, and your symptoms are not at all suggestive of HIV. If the orthopedist said you have plantar fasciitis, why don't you believe him/her? Even though the condition may be more common in women, that certainly doesn't mean men don't get it. They do, and it's not all that uncommon! If the exercises aren't helping, go back to the orthopedist and tell him, or get a second opinion from another orthopedist or podiatrist. Your symptoms, including your neck pain, are not at all suggestive of peripheral neuropathy. Ask your general doctor for a referral if he can't figure out what's going on with your neck -- arthritis?, neck muscle or ligament sprain?, over aggressive yoga stretching?, too many triple back flips off the high diving board? There are many possible causes - HIV is not one of them. Follow up on the plantar fasciitis and neck discomfort. Just rest assured that HIV is not your problem, okay?

Good luck.

Dr. Bob


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