Please Help Frantic Atypical Early HIV Symptoms Weak Immune System
Oct 20, 2005
Hello Dr. Frascino,
I think the work you and the other doctors here at "thebody" do is a godsend. A donation is forthcoming and I hope that it can help in someway. I was sorry to hear that your brother is facing a battle of his own and hope he is doing okay given the circumstances (and you too). Hopefully the trip you guys just took was an enjoyable success.
I am terrified that the symptoms my girlfriend and I are exhibiting are clear cut indications of HIV infection. The problem is that they don't seem to fit into the generally described "early"/ARS symptoms of HIV. I've read the forums (several times over) and know that there is no one set of symptoms for early HIV. Since a high risk possible exposure 12 weeks ago I have had on and off again diaherria and constipation for about a month. Recently, around the 10 week mark I developed what I'm almost certain is oral thrush, with white coating on the tongue and recently possible sores on the soft palate and cheeks. Those are my only symptoms. However, I'm scared beyond belief that my girlfriend may be infected. Two weeks after possible exposure (by me) she developed what most likely was a herpes zoster outbreak. Since then she's had on and off again diaherra, gas and GI grumbling and noises. A week ago she developed what also appears to be oral thrush on most of her tongue and has for the past two weeks been exhibiting symptoms of fatigue (sleeping more than usual at night and recently taking naps during the day; it seems to grow worse by the day). My question is if she already had a weak immune system from a bout with another illness several years ago, could she have these symptoms that usually come in later stages? Are her symptoms indicative of an already advanced stage of HIV? It's only been 5 weeks since I possibly infected her (one time unprotected sex, no ejaculation but possible pre-cum). I've read that both Herpes Zoster and Thrush are highly predictive of HIV, but usually occur in later stages. I've been tested at 10 weeks and was negative, but given the risk of the encounter (hetro unprotected sex with female of unknown HIV disposition), the constellation of symptoms, and the fact that it was still under three months, that has not given me even the slightest peace of mind. I fear that I have put her in grave danger and worry that she could already be well on her way to AIDS. I don't know what to do. I'm going to get tested again tomorrow which marks the three month period but I fear the worst given these symptoms. We haven't had (to date anyway) the symptoms associated with mono or the flu which often indicate ARS. Could our symptoms be from something else? It seems to me they couldn't be, and all signs point to HIV. This is scaring me to no end, and not being able to find answers isn't helping. Please provide any insight you may have. Please help.
Terrified and Guilt Ridden
Response from Dr. Frascino
Since you are getting tested today and hopefully will have your test result very soon, I won't spend too much time here trying to calm you down, other than to say I do not believe the symptoms you and your girlfriend are experiencing have anything to do with HIV. Certainly unprotected sex does place you at some risk for STDs, including HIV. Consequently a three-month test is warranted. However, your symptoms are most likely due to guilt and anxiety, not HIV. I suggest you level with your girlfriend. It's not only the best way to cope with your guilt, but it's also the right thing to do.
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