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I AM CONCERNED ABOUT REINFECTION
Dec 12, 2009

Hello. I am 42 yo male poz for 10 years. I am on Sustiva, Epivir and Viread. I met another HIV poz man who has been poz for 25 years and he is on Prezista, Truvada, Isentress (?). I am concerned about reinfection since I have been feeling flu-like symptoms. I have not had labs drawn since meeting him 6 weeks ago. I have been very healthy these ten years on same regimen that is very tolerable, so I am very afraid. Please advise. Thanks.

Response from Dr. Young

Hello and thanks for your post.

You've not mentioned what kind of potential exposures that you may have had, nor about either your or his viral levels -- all of these can influence the possibility of the rare, but possible situation of super infection.

If your partner's HIV viral load was undetectable, then the risk of transmission of HIV to you is very, very low. Factors as to what your exposure was (ie., oral, anal, top, bottom); adherence to medications, other concurrent sexual infections (like herpes or syphilis) can modify this risk.

Symptoms such as yours could represent the onset of things other than HIV ('tis the season to be jolly, but also to get influenza). It's important to fully recognize that there are multiple other sometimes very serious infections that can be acquired during unsafe sex (even with undetectable HIV viral loads)- for instance, hepatitis B or hepatitis C.

What I encourage people in your situation, particularly if your symptoms persist for more than a week, is to seek medical attention and evaluation. Again, I think that your likelihood of HIV superinfection is probably low, but a repeat HIV viral load test and other diagnostics wouldn't hurt and likely provide better clarity to your health.

Be well, BY



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