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Fatigue and AnemiaFatigue and Anemia
           
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Q's on ARS Fatigue
Sep 4, 2001

Hi Dr. Bob,

First let me say I'm just enjoying your responses to some of the questions in here. I like the way you dispense helpful information in a friendly, lighthearted way!

Now my questions.

1. Of people who experience Acute Retroviral Syndrome, based on your experience what would you say is the who encounter fatigue as an ARS symptom?

2. Now a qualitative question about ARS fatigue. Is it the kind of tiredness where you might feel a little worn from a hard day's work and maybe feel like going to bed early--maybe 1 night out of a week, in general having some energy but just feel just a little pooped sometimes; or is "ARS fatigue" the kind of tiredness where you feel REALLY wiped out, sleeping 12+ hours several days out of the week, and just feel like you have NO energy to do anything?

I ask because 7.5 weeks ago I had a risky sexual encounter. Luckily, I have experienced NO super-tiredness, just a little of the kind in the first description above. Other than a rash that started last week and has basically cleared up, and a *slightly* tense neck (glands?), I've not experienced the other symptoms associated with ARS (no fever, no aches, etc.).

I'm trying to have a good outlook on this and view this as a good sign. Just trying to have a good attitude here while I go get tested, but in the meantime I just wondered about occurrence of fatigue in ARS and when it occurs, its severity.

Thank you in advance Dr. Bob and I hope you get to my question!

Signed, Not too tired...

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Not Too Tired!

Friendly and lighthearted? Yep, that's me. As for fatigue associated with the Acute Retroviral Syndrome, I can't give you an exact percentage. As with any virus - common cold, flu, measles, mumps, etc. - fatigue can often accompany the other symptoms. It's certainly described as one of the possible symptoms of ARS. However, that said, there are certainly many folks who have contracted HIV and either don't remember or didn't recognize any ARS symptoms.

As for your question 2, fatigue is difficult to quantify. Again, take the common cold or flu - some folks feel totally wiped out and spend a week in bed watching Oprah reruns while other just ignore the symptoms and continue to go to work or the gym or whatever. It's quite variable and depends on how your body and its immune system handle infections.

If you had a risky encounter 7.5 weeks ago, it's a good idea to get tested, even if you haven't had ARS symptoms. And while you are waiting for the results, which we are hoping will be negative, stock up on a supply of condoms and "never leave home without them!"

Best of luck. We are rooting for you.

Dr. Bob


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