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Acute retroviral syndrome
Dec 29, 2001

I had a sexual encounter with a woman in the begining of August 2001. She gave oral sex [no condom], I touched her clitoris and put my finger in my mouth and had sex with her using a condom.The next day I felt funny taste on my tongue, thirsty, tight chest and had a bad breath. Two days later I had a sore throat, cannot sleep and had pins and needles on the back of my neck [intermittently] , hot and cold flushes and felt weak.

On the 8th day I visited my doctor and explained the above symptoms that I had. I was sent to have a full blood count. The result of the blood count did not reveal any problems. The next week I went back to my surgeon and he put me on a course of antibiotics and treated me for viral infections. Still no relief. By now I was still having muscular pains on my neck, back, chest and under my armpits, sore throat hot and cold flushes; chest seems tight and cannot sleep. After a month I went back to my doctor and he did some tests on my pressure, sugar and cholesterol and he found that my cholesterol was very high for the first time in my life. After the fifth week I had very heavy muscular pains and I thought I had a heart attack that night. The next day I felt sick and also had diarrhea for one day.

After six weeks I still had the above symptoms plus the growling sounds in my stomach and I decided to tell the doctor of my encounter. He did not think that I was at high risk but I volunteered to go for hiv 1- and hiv 2 tests. These results were negative. Thereafter he sent me a physician for an ECG and a chest x-ray. Both these tests did reveal any problems. After 18 weeks I still have either a pain in my throat, pain in the back of my neck, pain on my chest [below my neck] pain under my armpits. My doctor said that I could wait for three months and then go for a re-test. At the moment I am not on any medications. I jog about three /fours times a week [16 km per week] and I am very spiritual. I am hoping to go for a retest in two weeks time. What else could these symptoms be?

Response from Mr. Kull

I unfortunately cannot diagnose your symptoms. What I can tell you is that, based on the sexual encounter you describe, it is highly unlikely that you were at risk for HIV infection. A negative test at six weeks is a good sign that you are not infected, but HIV antibody testing is not definitive until at least three months have passed since your last exposure.

Here are the reasons why you are at low-risk for HIV infection:

1) There is no evidence that HIV is transmitted through receiving oral sex (an HIV infected person putting their mouth on your genitals). Saliva does not transmit HIV.

2) The risk of HIV transmission when performing oral sex on a woman is extremely low (only a few documented cases of transmission). This makes the risk during your activity (putting your finger in your mouth) practically negligible.

3) Condoms are extremely effective in preventing the transmission of HIV.

It is important that you continue to pursue the causes of your symptoms. While you're at it, look into the psychological, as well as physiological, causes. Anxiety can cause a great deal of emotional and physical discomfort in people.

RMK



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