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PEP Side-effects or signs of HIV?

Jul 7, 2011

Hi all,

I did a very stupid thing and went to see a sex worker after my girlfriend broke up with me. We had protected sex with condom, however, I was receiving oral pleasures without using a condom and I ejaculated in her mouth.

Since I have genital warts I went to see a doctor and asked for PEP to be on the safe side. I started pep within 18 hours of exposure.

I am taking PEP now for three days and the side-effects are horrible: nausea, muscle pain, diarrhoea. What is worrying me is that I also have a low fever and a mild cough and I am worried that this is caused by the virus spreading in my body.

Anyone had flu-like symptoms caused by PEP or do I need to be worried.

Thanks for your help! Patrick

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello, Patrick.

Assuming the latex condom was used properly and didn't fail (break), your HIV-acquisition risk from the protected sex would be essentially nonexistent. HIV cannot penetrate intact latex. No way. No how. Unprotected oral sex carries only a very slight risk for HIV transmission/acquisition. PEP is generally not recommended for this level of risk.

As far as STD transmission in general, I'm more concerned about the sex worker getting HPV/genital warts from you than you getting HIV from her.

Regarding your symptoms, it's possible your PEP medications could be the cause. It's extremely unlikely these symptoms would be HIV-related, as they occurred three days after the potential exposure. Symptoms associated with HIV acute retroviral syndrome (ARS) generally manifest two to three weeks after exposure (not days!). I would suggest you talk with the HIV specialist who is monitoring your PEP treatment. You might also discuss with him if PEP is really warranted.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob

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