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fatigue in ARS
May 31, 2003

Hi,

I have had a high risk encounter a month ago. I've basically gone through all the symptoms, and the one that affects me most is fatigue/malaise. I feel wierd, tired all the time, like I have zero energy. I find it very hard to get out of bed, no matter how much sleep I get. I can't seem to get rid of it. This, combined with my many other symptoms (diarhea, aches, weight loss, etc.) has convinced me I'm positive. Everytime I try to consider the possibility that I'm negative, I am instantly reminded otherwise by my physical condition. I know that I need to get tested, I will. My question is how typical is my fatigue of the usual ARS?

thank you

Response from Mr. Kull

You should really talk with your doctor about the fatigue that you are experiencing. I'm not sure what you identify as a high-risk encounter, but you shouldn't be attempting to determine what is going on with you on your own. You might miss something: for instance, you might not have an infection at all, and could be experiencing something like depression. Leave diagnosis up to your healthcare professional.

Trying to determine your HIV status based on symptoms you are experiencing is unwise, anxiety provoking, and unreliable. Recent HIV infection (acute HIV infection, acute retroviral syndrome) should only be considered if ALL of the following are true:

1) You had unprotected vaginal or anal sex (inserting or receiving a penis without a condom) within the past three months.

2) Your partner was known to be HIV infected, or is a person who is in a "high-risk" category (a man who has sex with men, an injection drug user, or a person who has sexual contact with others in an area of high HIV incidence or prevalence, like sub-Saharan Africa).

3) Your symptoms are indicative of acute HIV infection (febrile illness, sometimes compared to flu or mono). The specific symptoms can vary from person to person, but acute infection most often manifests in this "flu-like" manner.

So, while fatigue can be a symptom associated to recent infection, it can also be attributed to lots of other things, so talk to your doctor before assuming the worst.

RMK



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