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infection via the eye; long term non-progression
Oct 19, 2005

I was diagnosed with HIV in early 2000, after having previously tested neg in mid-1998. No events had occured that I had thought of as risky - no condom breaks, semen in the mouth, etc. I traced diarised events back over the prior years. The only event that stands out is one where I got semen in my eye. I wear contact lenses, and at the time didnt consider this a risk. Two days later I was diagnosed with viral conjunctivitis, and given treatment for this. In the months that followed I developed an intolerance of red wine, which has worsened subsequently, and appears to be due to sulphate intolerance (may be unrelated bu the timing is there). Also over the next few months I continuously suffered from large amounts of Phlegm in my throat and upper lungs. Seems somewhat was afoot!! But no medcal professionals seem willin to take my assertion that I was infected via my eye seriously. The give me that "knowing" look - as if I am making excuses. What follows is also notable - my first CD4 test showed 927, and extremely low viral load. Subsequent tests showed CD4 levels (I forget the exact numbers but recall the approximates) of around 1200 (in about 2001), then hovering around 1500 in subsequent years. My doctor suggest I only need testing every year and a half to two years now, unless other factors indicate otherwise. My original diagnosis and infection happened in the UK, but after my diagnosis I moved to Africa and am doing immensely satisfying demographic/epidemioligocal work helping amazing people fight this thing, so HIV has brought some blessings!

Response from Dr. Pierone

Hello and thanks for posting. I see no reason to discount the possibility that semen exposure to your conjunctiva led to the acquisition of HIV infection. Even though your numbers are great, I would still like to see a repeat viral load every 6 months or so. It is a bit more conservative, but it would guard against an unexpected viral rebound.

I am glad to hear that you are working in the HIV field in Africa and that it has been rewarding for you. We certainly need dedicated and knowledgeable people to help break the cycle of HIV infection n Africa.



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