Scared about late conversion
Jan 28, 2004
My story is as follows.Late August had unprotected vaginal intercourse, and oral sex for a few thrusts w/out ejaculation with a woman of unknown serostatus.I was severely intoxicated on alcohol and cocaine.She made me suspicious because she asked me about some pills I had that were dietary supplements that made me wonder if she thought they were HIV medication. The next day, I had a fever and felt horrible; do not know if it was from the partying or what the night before. Anyway,I knew something didn't feel right in the days after. I was weak, and felt a crackling in the back of my head and groin area. Ive never felt this way before in my life. 1 week and a half later I had pharyngitis, fevers, malaigse, swollen neck nodes, and could barely talk. In the next two to three weeks I lost 12 lbs, and all my muscle mass that I had worked so hard for in the time before. All my limbs were weak and then the drenching night sweats started. I was beside myself. What had I done to my life? I also got strange red bumps, or pimples on my chest and back acne, hairy and coated white tounge. The fevers lasted on and off for a couple of months. The last night sweat I had was in late mid-November. My throat cleared up with the help of some medication from my doctor but I still had symptoms such as horrible joint pain, tired, sore muscles and stomach cramps. I finally got the nerve to go to the doctor and told him my symptoms so he suggested a CBC and chest x-ray. I passed on the x-ray and my CBC was normal. My 2 and 8 weeks ELISA test were negative, both Home Access. I discussed my concern with my doctor in late November and he suggested to calm my fears and take an HIV test, which was at 11 weeks. THe lab report was negative. I felt better but still had lingering symptoms such as limb weakness, muscle spasms, and shaking. My 15 week Home Access test was negative so I was satisfied for a while. Although, recently around mid-January, I had unprotected receptive oral and protected sex with a pro. The next day I felt dizzy and confused, fever, and severe tingling, muscle cramps; sever nausea-especially after I ate; weakness all over; muscle twitching, cramps, cold pains in legs, and loss of motor skills to a noticeable degree. Could this be peripheral neuropathy setting in from my possible exposure in August. I read others on this site who haven't converted until 4.5 months and their symptoms were peripheral neuropathy-related. My symptoms are definitely noticeable to the point where I thought I would have to make a trip to the emergency room if they didn't stop. Other problems that I have had since being sick that haven't gone away are a clicking sound in my ears when I swallow, like I have an ear infection; Sore jaw and cracking when I move it; also gastro-intestinal problems such as air being trapped, and some constipation, and infrequent light stools. I had a negative HepA,B,C test recently which was negative. I just don't know if I can trust my results because of my ongoing symptoms. Please tell me what you think, your opinion means the world. I have been a faithful visitor of this site ever since I got sick. You are the bravest and most compassionate doctor I know. My donation is on the way!
Response from Dr. Frascino
As a faithful reader of this site, you probably already know most of what I'm going to say, but I'll reiterate briefly in hopes of calming your fears:
1. ARS symptoms do not appear the day after an exposure. It takes weeks. So your symptoms the day after sex are not HIV-related, but rather most likely due to your partying. (Did you expect to feel great the day after being "severely intoxicated on alcohol and cocaine?")
2. FDA-approved HIV tests after three months are considered to be definitive for these types of exposures.
3. Your symptoms are not consistent with peripheral neuropathy.
4. Symptoms do not equal disease.
5. If you've placed yourself at risk for HIV, get an HIV test at three months. If that's negative, then you are negative and you'll have to look elsewhere for the cause of any remaining symptoms. If you have difficulty accepting your HIV-negative status, seek counseling to help you cope with your irrational fears.
In general, your particular symptoms are not worrisome for HIV disease.
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