Aug 9, 2007
I had sex with two prostitutes in Mexico in February. In both cases, both oral and vaginal sex, both protected, and the condoms appeared intact afterwards. Ever since then I've been freaking out. The day after the second encounter, I got a sore throat and cold. However, I did kiss the prostitute and she said she was getting over a cold. I had also been partying, drinking, and chain smoking for a week, and was going on little sleep. I got tested 1 month after exposure, and it came back negative. In June, I had a sore throat on and off for a month. Then it stopped for a while, and now it's started again. I also smoke daily and drink on a regular basis, and don't sleep that much because of my job (usually 5 hours per night) during the week. I think my lymph nodes might be swollen, and there is some discoloration on my throat - darkened on one side. (What does a healthy throat look like??). I also have a stiff neck, but I look at a computer screen 12 hours per day... So, three questions:
1. Is an HIV test after 1 month effective at all? 2. If I did have HIV, would symptoms as described already be appearing? 3. How likely do you think it is that I have HIV?
Thank you so much. Every free moment is spent thinking about how my life is over.
And, how can I make a donation?
Response from Dr. Frascino
First, I'll respond to your three specific questions and then make a few comments.
1. It's encouraging, but not conclusive. Tests taken prior to the three-month mark are not considered to be definitive.
2. Acute Retroviral Syndrome (ARS) symptoms generally appear two to three weeks after primary infection.
3. Essentially nonexistent, assuming you used latex condoms properly and they didn't break.
Your HIV risk is essentially nonexistent, if you were "protected." Your symptoms are not worrisome for HIV disease. More likely they reflect your partying, drinking, chain smoking and lack of sleep! My advice is simple:
1. If you remain worried about HIV, get a single rapid HIV test. The results will be definitive and will undoubtedly be negative. That should put any residual HIV worries permanently to rest.
2. Stop smoking. If you don't, it definitely will kill you in a very horrible and undignified way.
3. Take better care of yourself. Drink in moderation, get more sleep and exercise.
Regarding donations to The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation, information can be found on the foundation's website at www.concertedeffort.org. We accept PayPal, credit cards, cash, checks, money orders, wire transfers, appreciated securities, you name it! Thanks for your interest in helping others.
Be well. Stay well.
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