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Already progressing to symptomatic stage?
Jan 13, 2008

Dr. Bob,

I recently tested positive for HIV via Home Access test. I was infected approximately 9.5 weeks ago and went through sero-conversion 8 days after infection.

For the last 3 weeks or so I have already begun to experience symptoms of early and middle stage HIV. Every single night I have intense night sweats where I wake up drenched in my own sweat. I've also had daily oral thrush where its very difficult for me to swallow and I have fungus like growths on the roof of my mouth. (especially after I eat)

From everything I have read, it usually takes HIV+ individuals 5 to 7 years to develop the symptomatic stage, and it means that their immune system has already sustained severe damage.

How/why is this happening to me so early after exposure/seroconversion? Is my immune system so weak that what takes most people 5-7 years, only takes me 9.5 weeks?

I know you will tell me to see a Dr., but unfortunately its not that easy. I don't have a GP in the state I live in, and every HIV specialist I've called has told me that they won't see me without a referral.....

Today I am going to a clinic to get "officially" tested, so I can start the process of eventually seeing someone to help me with my problem. Unfortunately, this may take months (process of waiting for ELISA, then confirmation Western Blot, then maybe finally getting referred to a specialist).

Am I at serious risk of developing an OI in these next few months? Is there any other way for me to see a specialist sooner so I can get my lab #s sooner and get on meds?

I live in Illinois btw (would be willing to travel if I could just have someone please help me!).

Thank you very much Dr.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

No, you are not developing symptoms associated with middle-stage HIV. If anything, you are still experiencing symptoms associated with ARS (acute retroviral syndrome) following your primary infection nine weeks ago!

It should not take months to see an HIV specialist in Illinois or anywhere else! An ELISA and WB test should take no longer than one week and, if positive, you should have your referral shortly thereafter. If you want to circumvent that process and can afford to go directly to an HIV specialist, try calling the HIV specialists in your area listed in the American Academy of HIV Medicine's physician roster (www.aahivm.org).

Are you at serious risk of developing an IO within the next few months? No, not if you really were infected only nine weeks ago.

Good luck! Hopefully soon Obama or Hillary will be in charge and universal health care will become a reality. That should help end many of the frustrations about our shameful health care system!

Hang in there. Help is on the way. Let's get through this together, OK?

Dr. Bob


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