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$30 donation for quick Q&A Sex Ed teacher
Aug 31, 2009

Hi, doctor. I am a highschool sex education teacher, and a lot of my students have had question of this sort. More recently a student is worried about a situation that had happened to him. He is an opening gay student and seems to have OCD with HIV. I want to give him the best info I can!

With ARS symptoms, do the symptoms come ALL AT ONCE, and leave ALL AT ONCE. Or do some symptoms come and then a day or 2 later more symptoms? And the same, vise versa for when they go away.

SPECIFICALLY: *Would a sore throat come one day...take antibiotics and the next day the sore throat is gone...then 2nd day cold like-symptoms ie: running nose/sneezing/Stuffy nose. The sore throat seems to be the most worrisome for this particular student.

Donation on it's way1

ADD-ON to "$30 donation for quick Q&A from sex ed teacher" (Submitted Aug 31, 2009)

I also forgot to add, along with the symptoms I listed... congestion and that of a head cold. ie: slight headache and pressure in the head and nasal area. I will add another $10 to make $40 to please include this in my last message. Thank you for your time and help.

BTW I also want to give my students this website if they had further questions...do you think that is ok for me to do?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Sex Education Teacher,

The symptoms associated with HIV acute retroviral syndrome are quite variable from case to case. This variability includes not only the spectrum of individual symptoms but also the severity of those symptoms. Some HIVers have such mild symptoms they go essentially completely unnoticed, whereas others have such severe problems they require hospitalization. Symptoms related to ARS are in general notoriously unreliable in predicting who is and is not HIV infected because the symptoms are non-specific and non-diagnostic for any particular disease. You cannot assume HIV is the cause these symptoms based on the individual symptoms present, symptom severity or timing and duration of the symptom complex. I would advise you counsel your students not to focus on potential symptoms (or timing of symptoms) but rather on HIV risk exposure. If they've had an HIV risk, they need an HIV-antibody test at the three-month mark whether symptoms are present or not.

That said, the scenario you describe, including a sore throat that responds to antibiotics followed by cold-like symptoms plus headache and sinus pressure, would not be worrisome for HIV ARS.

As for referring your students to the Web site, absolutely! Please advise them we have extensive archives that cover a broad range of HIV-related topics. For instance we have a whole chapter devoted to symptoms. Reviewing the information in that chapter will reveal I've answered questions very similar to the one you posed a number of times previously.

Thank you for your donation to the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org). It's warmly appreciated. Thanks also for teaching your students science-based sex education. By doing so, you just may safe a life!

Be well.

Dr. Bob



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