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Flu like symptoms that won't go away
Jun 20, 2002

Hi doctor. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to ask questions. I'm asking this question for a friend of mine who I'm very concerned about.

More than 2 months ago he had unprotected sex with a prostitute in a brothel. He's actually not even sure if he had sex because he just remembers coming out of the brothel and not the act itself.He was very drunk at the time. He has no idea if the girl is HIV+ or not.

2 to 3 weeks later he developed flu like sypmtoms although he didn't experience any fevers, headaches or night sweats. He just felt a slight tenderness in the back of his throat which still persists and occasionally his hands get inflamed. His hair is also falling out more than usual and he has vomitted a few times and he has suffered from diarrhea a couple of times in the last month. He has also lost about 7-8 kilos since the incident.

He is very convinced he has HIV and is worried to the extreme. This was the first time he's ever been with a prostitute and he regrets what he's done. He's planning to get tested once the 3 months mark is up.

Meanwhile, doctor, can you please tell me, to the best of your knowledge, if these are classic HIV symptoms? I know that some people who are HIV+ have no symptoms, but I'd like to have some sort of info. I just don't want him to stress unnecassarily. I'd like to see him have a peace of mind and get on with his life. Thank you for all your help.

Response from Mr. Kull

If your friend didn't have a fever, I'm not sure how his symptoms were flu-like. Flu is classicly described as a febrile illness, and fever is a common symptom during primary HIV infection.

It sounds like you both are anxious and are doing a lot of guesswork. If your friend is concerned about his symptoms, he should see a doctor for a check-up. That will greatly inform how he should proceed.

RMK



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