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Could my cold virus symptoms be due to Acute Retroviral Syndrome?
May 19, 2012

Dear Experts,

I am a guy from Singapore. My last day of exposure was on the 4th April 2012.

12 days later, I went to a GP clinic to request for HIV PCR RNA Viral Load Test. But on the same day, I get some slight coughing and sneezing.

Then just over one night, I developed a sore throat, a runny nose and a muscle ache on my upper left arm.

Yesterday, 19 April 2012, which is 15 days after the final exposure, I seem to start to feel muscle ache over several parts of my body, especially on the neck, in the throat, back of my body, hands, and legs. These muscle aches come on and off and are not persistent.

I have not developed a fever and any rashes yet. I drank plenty of water but I am still getting a cough and an itchy throat. I noticed my throat is red/inflammed and my tongue is white. I do not know how to check for swollen lymph nodes.

I bought the Durex extra safe condoms and used condoms in all my penetration/vaginal sex. But I did not expect things to go wrong.

The list of things that went wrong:

(1) I was lying on the bed facing up. The commercial sex worker was sitting on top of me with my penis in her vagina. Somehow my penis shrink/reduced in size and when she got up, I discovered that the condom was no longer on my penis! I remember I keep dragging the condom all the way to the base of my penis to be sure before penetrating her but after she went up, the condom was no longer on my penis! Where did the condom go? I did not notice the condom dropping anywhere on or near my body. Can I assume she pulled the condom out from her vagina?

2) Another commercial sex worker took off my condom with a tissue after discharge of semen. I did not notice whether she changed the tissue or not after taking off my condom but she wiped my semen that dripped on the mattress and then used the same tissue to try to wipe my penis! I tried to stop her but it was too late! I never notice whether she changed the tissue between taking out my condom and wiping the semen on the bed.

(3) I kissed the commercial sex worker lightly on the lips but did not notice anything wrong on her lips, maybe because the light was so dim. There was no deep and persistent kissing. But after examining her high resolution photos, I noticed that there are cold sores, or reddish patches on her lips! Too late! I know that when I brush my teeth, sometimes I will notice that my gums will bleed.

(4) Only after having sex, I noticed there were blood clots on my hands and legs. I must have been bitten by mosquitoes before having sex and my hands and legs itched and I scratched until they bleed. I only noticed the blood clots on my hands and legs after having sex.

In all cases, I bought my own condoms and wear condoms for all the penetrative/vaginal sex. There is no blow job whatsoever. But I remember licking one of the women's breasts.

What are my risks of contracting HIV?

Are my cold virus symptoms due to acute retroviral syndrome (ARS)?

It keeps raining in Singapore. Could it be just common cold or ARS? I had a flu vaccine in March 2012 and I could not possibly have flu. But the symptoms between cold and flu are so similar!

I am very worried that I will be unlucky and unfortunate to contract HIV. I am already unlucky enough to have schizophrenia, that is, hearing voices in my head which nobody else could hear. But for these past few months, my schizophrenia has stabilized and the voices rarely talk to me. But what to do? What's done cannot be undone. I have done an extremely foolish, stupid, and dumb thing by having sex with women, and women with unknown HIV status. If I contract HIV, I would have given myself a death sentence.

It is just too bad that I am not a Northern European. I have read that about 1-4% of Northern Europeans have this CCR5 mutation which confers them resistance to HIV infection. I am an Asian and a Singapore-born Chinese and thus have no such CCR5 mutation.

God please save me! God please give me a second chance! If you spare my life, I will never have sex with women again. Please God. But the voices I heard told me there is no God. The voices told me "God cannot help you". I still want to believe in a higher power though.

Thank you very much for reading through my lengthy account.

Yours sincerely,

An extremely worried guy from Singapore

Response from Mr. Cordova

Hi, Worried in Singapore:

I would go easy on yourself. You used condoms for each and every act of penetrative sex and that is the best way to protect yourself against HIV. Licking a women's breast, having a tissue reused, and mosquito bites do not put you at risk for HIV.

Since we don't know how long you were inside of your partner without a condom the first time, we can't say exactly how much risk was involved. However, with a one-time partial exposure, infection would not be likely. Also, your PCR DNA tests suggests that infection did not occur. I would suggest an antibody test at the 90 day mark, just to be sure. I am confident your test will be negative. Your symptoms are likely from a cold, not HIV.

I hope this helps.

In health,

Richard



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