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ARS rash always symmetrical?

May 16, 2009

Hi Doctor,

I'll keep this brief as I know you're busy. I had a very risky episode in Thailand a month or so back (full sex) and a few weeks later came down with what I thought was flu (fever, nightsweats and chills, serious sinus pain), but of course it started the worry off.

Ok everyone complains about this, so I conviced myself I was being stupid and I'd just got sick from the plane (I'd flown now to China) - however then I developed a rash (mainly smallish flat red dots, but a few bigger ones and a huge one on my chest) on my left upper chest, left shoulder and a few down my left arm.

I found some posts on here which say the rash is (always?) symmetrical (so I should have it on the right side too right?), but as I couldn't find any reference to this on any other websites, I just wanted to check if this was fact.

I'll get tested in 3 weeks when I return to the UK, but I would really love to try and calm myself a bit before I get there :)


Response from Dr. Frascino


The erythematous maculopapular rash on the face and trunk (and sometimes the extremities, including the palms and soles) is often symmetrical but doesn't exclusively have to be. The symptoms associated with acute retroviral syndrome are extremely variable from person to person. The reason to test (or worry) should be based solely on HIV-risk exposure, not the presence, absence or character of symptoms.

Good luck with your upcoming HIV test.

Dr. Bob

Sleepless Italian in Houston
Another question from the overly worried healthcare worker!

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