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HIV infection and Peripheral Neuropathy in Women
Jun 26, 2011

Hi, I have had two sexual partners this year (2011). One of my partners, we have practiced safe vaginal sex (using a condom) everytime and unprotected oral sex twice (I was the receptor or "giver". The second time ejaculate in my mouth, of which I quick spit out). That incident was on February 4th, 2011. My other sexual partner that I have been with for the past seven years, I had unprotected vaginal sex with him on May 29th. Fast forward to last week. On or around Friday, June 17th, I started to get this tickling sensation all over my body (feels like minor chills, but more of a tickling sensation). The next day, I developed minor aches and pains. By Sunday, I developed stiff neck that lasted for a day or so. A couple of days later, the pain in my stifff neck traveled down to my lower left side of my back, producing stabbing pains. That lasted for like a day or so. Now the pain is gone, but now (just about every night that I go to sleep or lay down) the tickling sensation is back, but it's primarily in my right arm (from my fingertips to my shoulders). II've never had a fever, sore throat, rash, diarrea, etc. 've read that peripheral neuropathy is a common early sign of primary HIV infection in WOMEN. In contrast, I have seen tha PN is seen in HIV positive folks, but only in later stages of the disease or primarily due from HIV meds. I know that I am high risk of exposure due to the incident of unprotected vaginal sex and the incident of unprotected oral sex. My last HIV test (which was negative) was October 2010. I will also add that I have been under a lot of stress/anxiety in the past month due to work and family. Should I be worried??? I'm death scared right now. Any information or feedback you can provide is greatly appreciated. And I will be making my donation to your foundation:) Thanks!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi.

The symptoms you describe are not consistent with HIV-related peripheral neuropathy. Rather they are quite consistent with anxiety.

Your HIV-acquisition risk is relatively low. I would advise getting a single HIV-antibody test three months after your last potential exposure. The odds are astronomically on your side that you did not contract HIV.

Thanks for your support of The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org). It's very warmly appreciated. In return I'm sending you my good-luck karma that your definitive three-month HIV-antibody test is negative!

Good luck. I'm here if you need me, OK?

Dr. Bob



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