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Weight Loss during ARS
Jul 6, 2009

Hello Dr. Bob

Sorry to bother you but certainly needing your help. I had a low risk exposure about 2 month ago (oral receptive). Given the type of exposure I decided to stop worrying and move on (althought I had a couple of symptoms including headaches and low grade fever 37.5C).

Anyway, the thing is that a couple of friends have pointed out that i certainly look thinner now. I remembered the exposure and kinda freak (never thought about weight loss as an ARS symptom). My regular weight usually fluctuates between 204-210, now Im just 193 pounds.

I have not been on a diet ever, neither im excercising or something so i can not find any logical explanation to this weight loss. These are my questions

(1) Could it be related to the oral sex episode four moths ago? (2) If a person lose weight during ARS does he gain them back or just lose them? (3) Shoul I visit an hiv specialist AND a nutritionist? (4) Should i expect this to continue (losing more weight)?

I have search in the archives and i have found information about waste syndrome but that seems to be a problem affecting people who have been suffering the disease for a long time... not recently infected folks.

Really needing your help Dr Bob. Hoping you can answer.

Your friend,

H.E.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi H.E.,

Oral sex carries only a very low risk for HIV transmission/acquisition. Weight loss is generally not associated with HIV acute retroviral syndrome (ARS). You are correct: HIV-associated wasting syndrome is a later-stage phenomenon.

To specifically address your questions:

1. No.

2. HIVers do not tend to lose weight during ARS.

3. I see no reason to visit an HIV specialist unless you actually have HIV! If you're concerned about your low-risk exposure, get a single HIV-antibody test at the three-month mark. The odds are astronomically in your favor that you did not contract HIV from this incident. The amount of weight you've lost so far is not concerning. However, if you continue to lose without dieting or exercising, etc., see your general medical doctor for an evaluation. There are many medical conditions that can present with weight loss.

4. I have no way of predicting this.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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