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Do I have a serious problem?
May 27, 2009

Dear Dr. Joseph, I do appreciate your answers all the time you are really so kind and great person, I hope you could answer my question. I'm 29 years old and my last risky exposure was in 2006 since then I haven't any symptoms but in September 2008 I was in bad situation because of my friend's death. I wasn't eating for a while I was really depressed after this incident Shingles attacked me on my back I took Acyclovir for 2 months then I did the test for HIV 1 & 2 both were negative but Shingles is still ON I'm worried that maybe Acyclovir interfere the result of my HIV test because the test was done 2 months after being on Acyclovir. besides Shingles I have no other problems. What do you suggest? What could be my problem? Do I need a PCR test? please help me and thanks in advance.

Response from Dr. McGowan

I am sorry to hear that you have been unwell.

While shingles can occur with a higher frequency in people with HIV infection, it mostly happens to people without HIV. The triggers for shingles are multiple, and certainly stress is an important one. The acyclovir would not interfere with the accuracy of the HIV test. Since you have not had a potential exposure since 2006 I would not worry that your shingles outbreak is HIV related.

Best, Joe



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