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Grandmother longing for the old days....
Dec 31, 2003

Dr. Frascino, I can't seem to get anyone either at the CDC, Home Access, or on this web site to address my concerns. I will try again. I am a 56 year old woman that had unprotected vaginal sex. HIV never entered my mind..ever. It wasn't around in my generation. 11/2 weeks later I had a bad headache, sore throat and muscle aches, followed by the glands in my neck becoming swollen and painful. I developed painful sores in my mouth. The symptoms started to go away after two weeks then came back. I have severe headaches, sore throat,white spots on my gums, coated funny looking tongue. Thats when the thought of HIV occured to me. I tested at 5 weeks and it was negative. However the symptoms keep getting worse. The headaches are horrible, I have a dry cough, my chest hurts. I can't go to a doctor because I work for a prominent area physician and would lose my job if I was known to Hiv positive. I called an infectious disease doctor..only one in this area..not much HIV here. They won't see me till I test positive or another Doctor refers me. I tested again..I am now at 7 weeks..it was negative. I'm so sick I don't know what to do. Could I develope symptoms of HIV/AIDS in 7 weeks? If I am infected, with the new tests shouldn't I be testing positive or at least indeterminant by now? I'm afraid in 3 months it will be to late. What should I do?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Granny,

You are only 56 and HIV has been known to be a problem for 22 years. Consequently, it indeed was around "in your generation!" You may not have been aware of it but it was very definitely around!

Now what's this nonsense about if you were known to be HIV-positive, you would lose your job? Not if you live in the USA you wouldn't. Or if you did, you could sue the "prominent physician" and become so wealthy you wouldn't need to work anymore. If you are sick, you should see a physician.

Do I think it could be HIV? Well you are at some degree of risk for STD's, including HIV, due to unprotected receptive vaginal sex. The estimated risk is relatively low (0.1-0.2 percent per exposure with a partner confirmed to be HIV-positive), but it is not nonexistent. HIV antibody testing prior to three months is not considered to be definitive, and therefore, not recommended. Your symptoms could be related to a variety of medical conditions from a common bout of sinusitis to an uncommon case of contracting HIV from a single potential exposure.

What should you do? See a doctor for an evaluation. It's your next logical step. Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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