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Rash: come and go? Or hits all at once?
Oct 26, 2009

Hi Dr. Bob!

I've seen several posts about the ARS rash, but was wondering: does the rash hit "all at once" or can it progress as days go by?

11 weeks ago I performed oral sex on another man. He did not ejaculate in my mouth.

In the past week, I've developed a rash on my chest, waist line, and armpits, but I've had NO other symptoms. No fever, no loss of appetite (on the contrary, I have quite a healthy appetite), no weight loss. I did get a flu shot about 1.5 weeks ago, so was wondering if that could be it?

I'm hesitant to call it a rash, it looks more like acne, but since my encounter was 11 weeks ago I wanted more info.

Also, just wondering: if I did develop other symptoms - do this hit all at once, or are they "scattered" in development?

Thanks so much for all your help!

Sincerely, Nervous in California

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Nervous in California,

The symptoms associated with HIV acute retroviral syndrome (ARS) generally become manifest two to three weeks after primary HIV exposure and infection. A rash 11 weeks after a potential exposure would not be related to HIV ARS. The symptoms of ARS generally occur simultaneously and persist for two to three weeks. You can read much more about ARS symptoms in the archives of this forum. We have an entire chapter devoted to "symptoms."

Regarding your HIV status, the only reason to worry or get HIV tested is HIV risk, not the presence or absence of "symptoms." Symptoms are notoriously unreliable in predicting who is and is not HIV infected. Oral sex carries only a very low risk for HIV transmission/acquisition. Again, you can read much more about this in the archives. We have a chapter devoted to oral sex as well! If you're concerned that you placed yourself at risk for HIV, get an HIV-antibody test at the three-month mark. It really is just that straightforward!

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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