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Clammy Canuck Pt.2 (reassurance before vacay in Europe?)

May 14, 2009

Hi Dr.Bob,

I wrote you a few days ago about my high risk exsposure in South America, symptoms and testing to date (below). I am heading to Europe with my gf this Thurs. (I told her everything and advise anyone in my position to do the same) and would appreciate your input before leaving. In addition to the night sweats, I should mention that I've lost a lot of muscle mass and have had very shaky hands with twitching and pins and needles in my legs/feet (is this related to my exposure?). You have been a rock for me throughout this ordeal and I greatly appreciate your input. Either way, a donation is on it's way. Thanks.

Dr. Bob,

Thank you for the invaluable service you provide.

13wks ago I had a condom fail, exposing the entire tip of my uncut penis, while having vaginal sex with a csw in Colombia. After returning to Canada (12 days later to be exact) I began to experience drenching night sweats, requiring me to change the sheets on multiple occasions. They occurred within a couple of hours of falling asleep and happened about 2-3x's a week for 5 weeks. I had never experienced anything close to this in my entire life (28yrs old). I am still experiencing approx. 1 episode a week, though they are not as severe as the earlier ones. Of interest, I never had a fever during this time (I checked daily), but did have a number of canker sores as well as some strange bloating/digestion issues during this time.

Testing to date: p24/ab@18 days - neg, p24/ab@5weeks - neg, Nat@10.5weeks - neg., Insti rapid ab@12weeks - neg.

While I have no doubt the above strongly suggests I am indeed neg., everytime I have a night sweat I convince myself that the tests missed something. I know that symptoms dont = HIV, but these sweats are not as common as other symptoms that are likely to be unrelated to HIV (you must agree with that).

I have read that you experience night sweats related to HIV. Did you have them with your ARS? Would you advise that I continue to test? Is it too early to know my status? Will I ever conclusively know? This experience has been incredibly traumatic and I pray that one day I can put it behind me.

Thank you so much for your time and evaluation.

Clammy Canuck

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Clammy Canuck,

"Symptoms" are notoriously unreliable in predicting who is and is not HIV infected. Your repeatedly negative HIV tests, including an undetectable NAT at 10.5 weeks, are definitive and conclusive. HIV is not your problem. No way. No how.

Night sweats can be associated with many illnesses other than HIV/AIDS. Your other symptoms likewise can be caused by a wide variety of illnesses, including anxiety.

As for my ARS, no I did not get night sweats. However, I've had them intermittently since seroconverting in 1991. They are not pleasant. A friend once told me he felt like taking a set of goggles and flippers to bed with him!

Clammy Canuck, I suggest you stop worrying about HIV. Go to Europe with your girlfriend and have a wonderful time. If any symptoms are persisting or worsening when you return, have them checked out by your general medical doctor. Remember, HIV is not your problem, OK?

Good luck. Bon voyage.

Dr. Bob

Hiv - Complicaded Question.

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