Will this surgery affect the hiv window period??
Apr 21, 2012
Hi I had a recent surgery on Dec. 23, 2011, called endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS) which eliminates excessive palmer sweating by the cutting of a sympathetic nerve in the body. I was prescribed nerve pain medication, antiinflamitory meds as well as antibiotics to fight off any infection for the duration of about a week- week and a half. Aswell I was hospitalized mid january for a severe allergic reaction (possibly to macrobid) in which I believe I was given a low dose of steroid called prednisone intreveinoulsy. Approximately 6 weeks after this surgery (feb. 6, 2012) I had sex with someone of unknown status who was basically a complete stranger and is a drug user. The exposure was receptive vaginal sex and the condom broke. He took the condom off and penetrated me for about 15 seconds (without condom) and came out and ejaculated outside of me. Right away I thought that I could have possibly contracted hiv from him (given he was infected) as I was experiencing all the flu-like symptoms. I went to the doctor and tested positive for strep A. and was hoping that I wasn't experiencing strep and ARS at the same time. I got tested with a combo antigen/antibody test at 29 days post exposure (march 6th) and test came back negative. At 8 weeks post exposure I began to have knee pains that would go from one knee to the other and basically keeps switching back and forth also making a clicking sound in my right knee every time I straighten it. It's been like this for 2 weeks now. I recently had a 10 week rapid antibody (instibiolytical) test done (on april 16) and that came back negative too. My greatest concern is that this particular surgical procedure that I had done a month and a half prior to my exposure could have delayed seroconversion as I'm not quite sure how ETS surgery can affect the immune system. As well I'm am not sure how a dose of prednisone can effect one's immune system. I really need expert medical advice as I do not know what a conclusive window period for me would be in this situation. I know this is quite lengthly but I just want to be clear and had to provide all the information regarding my situation. I would really appreciate a response because I don't know who else to ask. Thanks you in advance.
Response from Dr. Wohl
The procedures and medication you received would not influence the test results. The p24 antigen in particular is not dependent on your immune system working or not. It looks for actual virus parts. DW
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