Oct 6, 2004
Dear Dr. Bob, Approximately 4 weeks after my last sexual contact, I came down with a severe case of epididymitis (testicle pain, itching penis) followed a couple of days later by a mild fever, dizziness and fatigue. After 3 treatments of antibiotics, the epididymitis went away after two weeks, but the following day I got a severe case of dry mouth and burning tongue. This lasted over a month, but just as the dry mouth began to ease somewhat, a sore throat developed, and after more antibiotic treatments, would not go away. I waited until the 3 month period was up before going for my HIV test and was surprised, to use my doctor's words, that it was "extremely negative." I guess I should be whoo-hooing, but my sore throat coninued to linger, so I went to a Chinese accupunturist and received treatment and herbal medications for my throat. A month later, my sore throat is 99% better, but I've turned into a mucas machine and hock up about a gallon of phlegm a day. The Chinese Dr. tells me the phlegm are the toxins coming out of my body, and although the hocking has recently eased, I still can't digest food without coughing up more mucas. So, if in fact I am HIV- negative, I guess there should also be a categorical test for being HIV-stupid. Not only was I stupid with the alcohol, it made me stupid with the bad sex decision that followed, and made me three times as stupid when I stressed out about thinking I had HIV which caused the dry mouth that caused the sore thoat that caused the mucas to go round and round and it comes out here. Forrest Gump said it best - "Stupid is as stupid does." Probably the smartest thing I'll ever do is to write your foundation a check (for being stupid, of course). And so now I sit here with constant reminders of the stress in the form of mucas, dry mouth and burning tongue (not nearly as bad now)and think of an old Chinese proverb that might sum up most of us who participate in your column. 'A fool who pursues his folly will eventually become wise.' And now to get back to my original question to satisfy my own stupidity. Can epidiymitis be one of the over 2000 symptoms of HIV? And again, thank you for your dedication and care toward all of us. Annonymously Stupid
Response from Dr. Frascino
Epididymitis is not one of the "over 2000" common symptoms of HIV; however, even if it were, you should realize that "symptoms, no matter what they are, do not equal HIV disease." In your case, your "extremely negative" three-month HIV test is definitive and conclusive. Consequently, symptoms or no symptoms is really just a moot point, right?
I like your Chinese proverb. I once got that very saying in a fortune cookie! As it turns out, I'm in Las Vegas at the moment, and following a tasty Asian dinner last night at one of the very trendy new restaurants, I got a fortune cookie with a different Chinese Proverb. It said, "Man who hits head on curb has mind in gutter." Hmmm, I kind of wonder if Confucius really said that.
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