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Fatigue and AnemiaFatigue and Anemia
           
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concerned for wife, please help
May 9, 2001

Hi, I have read on may forums and websites that people who have put themselves at risk have experienced acute symptoms yet have tested negative at the 6 month mark. Several months ago I had placed myself in a terrible situation where I may have contracted hiv. The head of my penis ahd made contact with the females vaginal opening enough that my head was covered in her fluids, yet no penetration was involved and a condom was used thereafter. Several weeks later I began developing a dry persistent cough, chills, slight night sweats for a few days, minor upset stomach for a few days, slight fever for a two days, upper back chills and aches, joint and muscle aches which have come and gone over the last few months and swollen groin lymph glands for 3.5 months. When I had confronted the lady she had simply and coldly stated, "whatever it is now, its your problem...you deal with it." I feel fine now but have asked myself could what I had experienced be a result of guilt as it was an extramarital affair? This had lead me to write to you and ask from your experience dealing with these types of situations, how common is it for people to experience these types of symtpoms and not become infected? Can the virus enter the body and be fought off naturally in some cases or once it makes its way into a host, there is no way of fighting it? As well, I have tested negative at 11.5 weeks, how reassuring can this result be and can other disease (herpes) or regular marijuana smoking ( 4x a week ) effect the immune system and production of hiv antibodies? Sorry for the lengthy novel I have written you but as you may suspect I am naturally worried about possible infection and my wifes safety (we use condoms due to HSV) as she developed a dry cough for 3 weeks, slight upset stomach for 1 day and dizziness for 1 day. Thanks in advance for any help you may be able to give me.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

This forum is dedicated to questions related to HIV-related fatigue and anemia. Questions about possible infection should be directed to our Forum on Safe Sex and HIV Prevention.

To briefly respond, certainly the anxiety and guilt of the extramarital encounter could account for some symptoms; however if you did have fever, chills, sweats, muscle and joint pains, and swollen glands, you may have contracted some type of infection - although not exclusively HIV. The fact that your HIV test is negative at 11.5 weeks is very encouraging. Having herpes or smoking marijuana will not affect the HIV antibody test. Because of your symptoms, you could get an HIV RNA-PCR (viral load) test, or alternatively, if that is not an option for you, repeat the antibody test at 6 months.

Good luck.

RJF


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