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Not over yet
Apr 16, 2011

Hello Dr. Bob, In early December; I had an unprotected sex with a woman after having too many drinks at her house. I had experienced several symptoms of ARS 9 days after possible exposure, these symptoms all came together massive headache, stomach cramps and pains, fever, swollen lymph node, night sweats, and worse of all the appearance of oral thrush. Reading on many of the symptoms all were matches of ARS. However a test at 8 weeks and 82 days (2days short of 12 weeks) with home access test came back negative. Considering a 12 weeks test would be conclusive I was finally relieved thinking my worries were over. However, 5 days later notice a persistent swollen lymph node on my neck which lasted longer than 3 weeks seems my worries are just not over yet. The swollen lymph node appeared for no apparent reason and lasted longer than 3 weeks I hear this is commonly experience in the earlier stage of HIV. So Im questioning my result of Home access which I come to find are still using older 2nd generation tests and recommends 6 months for conclusiveness; everyone else goes by 12/13 weeks. I want to believe on my test and move on and ignored these symptoms but doesnt really seem likely given that I have experienced everything that can be experienced. I want to get this over with but still fear the result changing, should I move on with my 12 weeks result? How much can I relay on Home access compare to other tests?

Thanks for your help, and would like to donate to your organization for the good work you do.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Unprotected sex does place you at some degree of risk for STDs, including HIV. Consequently STD screening, including HIV testing, is warranted. Symptoms are notoriously unreliable in predicting who is and is not HIV infected. A negative HIV-antibody test (even second generation!) outside the window period trumps symptoms each and every time. If you remain concerned about your "2 days short of 12 week" test or the accuracy of the Home Access test kit, you could get a single HIV-antibody test (rapid test, ELISA, EIA, etc.) for psychological peace of mind. The result will undoubtedly be negative. An isolated swollen lymph node in the neck is not worrisome for HIV acute retroviral syndrome (ARS).

Thanks for your support of The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org). It's warmly appreciated. In return I'm sending my good-luck/good-health karma that you are now and will forever be HIV free.

Good luck. Be well.

Dr. Bob



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