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Fatigue and AnemiaFatigue and Anemia
          
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Infected for just 2 months...Is this normal?
Nov 24, 2001

I was infected 8 weeks ago. I had the usual ars symptoms after 3 weeks and now I have some lingering symptoms. I am tired all the time. I have no appetite at all and am losing weight. I sometimes have pains in my stomach and I have diarhea. My slpeen is enlarged. I have headaches. My lymph nodes are swollen and painfull (groin, armpit, back of neck) I am also feeling very depressed all of the time. Is it possible that I am progressing faster than most? Should I be starting treatment? I don't have my count or viral load #'s yet. Thanks for your help

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Are you progressing faster than most? Probably not. If you really were infected just 8 weeks ago, you are probably still experiencing symptoms related to the Acute Retroviral Syndrome (ARS). That could account for most of your symptoms. How do you know your spleen is enlarged? It's very difficult to feel one's own spleen! As for the fatigue, certainly that could go along with ARS or "feeling very depressed all the time." Counseling, support groups, and close friends may help you get through this difficult period. Certainly there are other causes for fatigue - anemia, opportunistic infections, hypogonadism, etc. - but I doubt these are contributing significantly to your current complaints. Getting your viral load and CD4 count, as well as other screening labs, is certainly important. Hopefully, you have or soon will consult with an HIV specialist. This is particularly important for you, because if indeed you were infected just 8 weeks ago and are still experiencing ARS, early treatment might be very beneficial in protecting your immune system. If on the other hand, you just found out you were positive 8 weeks ago and have been infected for a much longer period of time, then the time to consider starting anti-HIV treatment may be delayed until your CD4 count drifts down to the 250-300 range. You can learn more about ARS and treatment options in the other expert forums on this website. As far as your fatigue is concerned, I'll bet it improves as your ARS subsides and/or your depression lifts. I'm quite convinced you'll be feeling better soon.

So remember, get in to see an HIV specialist very soon to keep all your options open. He/She will explain the pros and cons of early versus delayed treatment based on if you are recently or chronically infected. Write back if the fatigue continues to be troublesome. Try not to get discouraged. We're all in this together. OK?

Dr. Bob


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