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Early ARS symptoms?
Dec 16, 2009

Dr. Bob:

I submitted this question before but thought I'd take a different angle because of recent developments. Went to a massage parlor late last week and got a full body massage, and then at the end she gave me a handjob. The masseuse was clothed during the entire massage and I never touched her skin (except maybe for an ankle, or something minor like that).

I wouldn't even be worrying about this except after I left and went home, I found a few tiny scratches on the back of my hand not more than a few millemeters long. They weren'y bleeding but looked fresh leading me to believe the massage might have caused it.

I know this is essentially a no-risk situation for me, but I've also been getting a few "symptoms"that made me doubt myself. My arms have been sore leading me to believe that I have sore lymph nodes in my armpits (although how can you tell exactly?) Also I've had an irritation in my groin, although it comes and goes with one side usually bothering me more. Also, it doesn't always seem consistent, and I've had it for a few weeks. Finally, I think I've had a sore lymph node in my neck for a few weeks as well, but only on one side, which I've tried to reason has to do with an possible ear infection for me.

However, the night before last I had a bout with diahrrea although it seems only to have been a one-time occurence. I also woke up twice during the night with night sweats, although they were not somewhat mild and not drenching (hair was sweaty but not shirt)

Then last night, I was nauseous (sp?) and ended up throwing up, but then a little bit later was able to eat without any repeat occurrence or feeling of nausea. I had a big lunch before and so was hoping that I ate too much or just had something that didn't settle right with me, or perhaps I just caught a simple stomach virus from the night before when I had the diahrrea.

Again, I wouldn't be worried with any one of these occurences. However, having them all about the same time and checking the archives and noting the "symptoms" for ARS from previous posts, it has me worried a little worried.

So I guess my questions would be: (1) the risk for this type of situation is essentially nonexistent (using your words), correct? (2)even if there were a risk, its too early for me to begin exhibiting ARS symptoms and/or (3) the symptoms are not consistent with ARS, correct? (4) would you even recommend testing for something like this?

I'm sorry to keep pelting you with questions since I know you're busy but these last few things I mentioned have made me worry. You're a great help and I've already made a donation.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

"I know this is essentially a no-risk situation . . . ." I absolutely agree, except you can leave off the "essentially" part!

Your "symptoms" are not at all worrisome for HIV acute retroviral syndrome (ARS).

To address your specific questions:

1. Nonexistent! Period.

2. ARS symptoms generally become manifest two to three weeks after primary HIV infection.

3. Correct.

4. Nope!

Thanks for your tax-deductible donation to The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org). It's warmly appreciated.

Happy Health Holidays. Stop worrying!

Dr. Bob



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