Update from your Nigerian Student
Feb 6, 2011
Dear Dr. Bob,
After my 8-week negative, I was calm for about a week but I kept experiencing symptoms such as heartburn, skin burning sensation and occassionally, upper left abdominal pain. I decided to go back and test again at the 10-week mark. The results came back negative. The counselor that runs the testing department now thinks I'm crazy and said he won't test me again if I come back. I was signed up for counseling and I met with my counselor for the first time today. However, last night, I experienced a low-grade fever that lasted through the night till the morning, I feel a bit malaise right now... My question is theoretically, if i was infected, is it normal to still be experiencing these symptoms at almost 11 weeks? I was giving meds for the skin burning and the heartburn and that has helped, havent felt the burning since I started taking the meds. I'm going back at the 90-day mark for the final test and I'm going to see a doctor on Monday regarding this occasional upper left abdominal pain, I keep having a feeling that its my spleen :/ Would you advise me to get a CT Scan to see what exactly is going on in there? Just wanted to hear your comments on my situation. Thanks for everything and continue the great work.
Regards, Nigerian Student
Response from Dr. Frascino
Hello Nigerian Student,
Negative HIV tests out to 10 weeks are extremely encouraging. It's now extremely unlikely that you could be HIV infected.
I can't diagnose the cause of your symptoms over the Internet, but they could be related to anxiety. I doubt CT scanning is warranted.
I agree with your decision to seek psychotherapy (counseling).
DR. Bob pls answer (i would donate but i'm a student with low funds) Jan 1, 2011
Dear Dr. Bob,
I've read through your forum and I admire your humor and how you help anxiety-filled people like myself get through a very scary time. My reason for writing is just like everyone on this site I'm scared I have been infected with the dreaded monster HIV. I posted on dec. 23rd but never received a response. I guess 'cause I didn't donate :( I've looked around the forum and haven't quite seen any question similar to mine. I'm a 23 year old Nigerian female, studying in new york city. Oct.28, I had regular gyn check-up where I tested for hiv and all other stds and came out (-). Prior to this scare, I've had sex once and this was 3 years ago. Never had sex again after that due to a pregnancy scare I had. 2 possible exposures with the same guy: Nov. 15 - Deep Kissing and Frottage. No penetration
Nov. 22 - I asked him to wear a condom and while I wasn't looking, he took it off and penetrated for about 5 mins unprotected. When I realized this, I immediately made him stop.
Nov. 23 - Literally 10 hours later, woke up with abdominal inflammation and slight cough. Didn't know what to make of this. I thought I might be pregnant so I took the morning after pill a day and a half later. This was when all hell broke loose.
Nov. 27 - Fever kicked in and lasted for 5 days. Abdominal inflammation continued and finally stopped. Petrified, I began looking up symptoms of hiv and lo and behold Fever and abdominal pain were present. I began to freak out.
Nov. 29 - 1 week after unprotected sex confronted partner and made him get tested for stds and hiv. He came out neg. I thought I could finally calm down but symptoms continued.
Basically between 1 day after the unprotected sex, I've experienced every symptom in the book except for diarrhea and rash. From muscle spasms, joint aches, heartburn, slight swelling under bottom lip, weight loss (7lbs) haven't been eating well though due to anxiety. Swollen nodes on the right neck. My doctor said the other nodes I thought were swollen are not. Did bloodwork everything came out fine but she said my protein is slightly elevated. This was what intensified my fear and anxiety even more.
I know symptoms don't mean anything and I already scheduled for a test on Jan 10th. My question for you doctor is could I have contracted hiv from this man through frottage? I don't see how my symptoms could have started 1 day after unprotected sex. Doc, pls help me. I've been lurking around your forum for the past 6 weeks looking for advice. I've learned a whole lot about HIV and Porn Guy aka SB has helped me get through these past weeks. I hope you respond. I have no1 else to turn to, I currently don't have insurance and I can't even qualify for medicaid yet due to my immigration status. You're all I've got right now. Pls help :((
Response from Dr. Frascino
Frottage is not considered a risk for HIV transmission. You are correct that symptoms associated with HIV acute retroviral syndrome (ARS) do not manifest one day after unprotected sex! It generally takes two to three weeks after primary HIV infection for the symptoms of ARS to appear.
I would suggest you follow up with your doctor or the student health service for any persistent symptoms.
The episode of unprotected sex on November 22 does place you at risk for STDs, including HIV. Consequently an HIV-antibody test at the three-month mark would be warranted. Try not to worry about symptoms, as they are notoriously unreliable in predicting who is and is not HIV infected. That your partner tested HIV negative is extremely encouraging. It reduces your risk to the remote possibility that he was still in his window period. The odds are now astronomically in your favor that you did not contract HIV.
Good luck! I'm here if you need me. (And my advice is always given free of any strings or obligations!)
Happy Healthy New Year.
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