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persistent pain after shingles
Mar 11, 2001

I have recently been tested hiv positive after a mild shingles outbreak. I have not got my viral load and dc4 cell tests done yet, except CBC(complete blood count) , which was normal , except total white cell count was borderline -4000. I am 25 year old male snd I could be infected by the virus no longer than 2.5 years. So far i have felt well before this shingle outbreak. But after i recovered, I still feel pain on on my left back and chest, sometimes more sometimes less,almost none in the morning before taking a shower but more when i breath in and also a deep like penetrating pain in my left forearm which i can fell more when I press a finger in deeper. This not severe , but uncomfortable feeling. This is on the same side where i had shingles outbreak which were on my righ trunk and few dots on the back. They did not hurt. Also i took acyclovir 5 times a day for 7 days. My doctor also checked my lypmh nodes i found them to be normal, also she performed a x-ray test which was found to be normal,and also listened to my lungs. She told me that this is not a pneumonia, and told me to wait to see what will happen.I don't know what to do with it and where this pain comes from? Second question: i started seeing some white spot in my left eye which moves with my eye movement. Otherwise my vision is ok. I don't know if it is hiv related retinitis, or some other eye problem? Am i likely to progress to aids soon after shingles... I don't know what my test results will show?But in general what is the prognosis?

Lost and depressed with this disease and getting all those OI diseases in the future that i am reading about here.... Thank you

Response from Dr. Feinberg

Frequently people (both HIV+ and HIV-) will have persistent pain after an attack of shingles. he medical term for it is "post-herpetic neuralgia". If it doesn't resolve fast enough on its own, you can ask your doctor for medicine for chronic pain (often amitriptyline or nortriptyline are used, and sometimes narcotic painkillers).

"Floaters" (spots that are in your field of vision that move are usually described as black or dark brown. I don't know what this white spot is, and if it persists you can ask your doctor to send you to an eye doctor experienced in caring for people with HIV. For this to be CMVretinitis, your T cell count would have to be very very low, which is highly unlikely if you were infected a couple of years ago.

Take heart-- the new combination medicines for HIV work very well and if you take them correctly, your recent episode of shingles should be the last OI that you experience.


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