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ARS Question--QUICK QUESTION
Jun 1, 2008

Dr. Bob- Thank you for all of your help and guidance. Long explanation, but VERY QUICK question at the bottom.

The last 4 weeks of my life have been very exhausting after a condom breakage. I wrote to you a month ago and you've been very help. I have spent a lot of time reading through the archives. I was on PEP for 28 days after the incident. I have an appointment in about 10 days again with my HIV specialist at the six week mark to do a viral load test and hopefully put my mind at ease. My exposure was in the middle area, I had possible exposure through receptive sex but I dont know and couldnt find out the status of my partner. AFter consulation with the specialist I took PEP. My mind has been driving me crazy. Today is the 4.5 week mark. I have been having some 'ARS symptoms'--sore neck, lymph nodes, scratchy throat. I know symptoms are not indicators. That said, I went today and got a rapid HIV test. It was negative.

I was hoping for some guidance and maybe a bit of good Karma on the following--I know I am still in the window period and I know I need to continue to see my specialist. That said, is there a chance (and does being on PEP--suppressing the virus) make a difference on symptoms. Basically, if they were ARS symptoms would the test had been reactive? I am trying to be patient and do my best. I know I am not out of the woods yet, and would appreciate some good karma, but I just want to make sure that if the PEP had failed I would be reactive and at least the negative test was negative for right now.

I made a donation the other day to your foundation. You do such great work. IS there a way to make regular--automatic donations as well? I want to continue to be supportive in the future. Thank you.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Your estimated statistical risk for acquiring HIV would be quite low, because we do not know the HIV status of your partner. Plus you took PEP and have a negative HIV test at 4.5 weeks. I agree symptoms are unreliable when trying to predict who is and is not HIV infected.

As for PEP possibly suppressing the symptoms of HIV acute retroviral syndrome (ARS) symptoms, this would be unlikely. If PEP was not successful in preventing HIV infection (PEP failure), the ARS symptoms would manifest themselves unabated. If PEP was successful, HIV infection would be aborted and there would be no ARS.

Thank you for your donation to the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation. Yes, automatic donations can be set up through the foundation. Just e-mail the foundation at frascinoaidsfound@sbcglobal.net with your intentions and our staff will walk you through the process. In return I'm sending you my good-luck/good-health karma that your post-PEP HIV tests continue to be negative. (I strongly suspect they will indeed be negative!)

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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