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Ongoing and unexplainable symptoms 4 months post exposure
Feb 14, 2014

Dr Wohl,

I've had a very particular set of symptoms and I'm losing my mind over them, I really hope you can help me sort it out, I've read an unimaginable number of sources and still haven't found an answer for case like mine: Late September of last year I had protected sexual intercourse twice one night with a female of unknown status, I used a condom, HOWEVER she had abundant fluid by the end and some of it must have made contact with me once I removed the condom. The reason I'm certain of this is because I developed some sort of UTI 4 days after, I thought it might go away but it didn't, it only got worse, with a strong burning sensation in my urethra and frequent urination. I went to see a Dr. about 10 days after the exposure, had a urine test and everything came back negative, I was treated with 4 shots of ceftriaxone, followed by ciprofloxacin and phenazopyridine. The burning sensation in my urethra was gone but still had discomfort in my testicules, so I was treated with itraconazole and doxycycline. Around 3 weeks after my exposure I developed a non-itchy rash mainly in my buttocks that went away a couple weeks later, also a mild diarrea, I didn't care too much as It might have been a side effect of the doxy or so I tought.

Since that didn't solve the discomfort, 5 weeks after my exposure I was referred to an urologist, I had a urine cultive which came back negative. I was given meloxicam and vibramycin at the time. Another month went by and the itching sensation persisted. By week 7 I started feeling dizzy and very lightheaded as well as some pain in the spleen area. At 8 weeks I got tested for HIV with ELISA (i don't know what gen), HCV, Syphilis, Chlamydia and Herpes, and yet another urine and sperm cultive, all came back negative. That's when I started to get really worried it might be HIV, as the lightheadedness became a constant, it's very hard to describe it because it hasn't affected my balance and yet makes me feel dizzy from time to time, I once felt like I was about to faint.

I tested again at 11 weeks for HIV with ELISA (again, unknown gen) and still negative. Went back to the urologist at 12 weeks as the discomfort and pain in my testicles continued, he told me to rule out HIV and prescribed me Ciprofloxacin for a week, and a month of Bactrim F. Since the lightheadedness continued and became very unpleasant, by week 14 I went to see a neurologist, had an MRI and found some swelling of the brain but claimed it was due to my bad posture while sleeping ...??. At week 14 I tested again for HIV, this time the lab used an immunochromatographic test, it was negative. Tested again at week 18, this time with Oraquick and another negative. I finished the treatment a couple of weeks ago and I'm still feeling the discomfort in my testicles but more importantly the constant lightheadeness, sometimes a bit of dizziness, headaches, neck pain, also joint and muscle pain (particularly in my wrists, shoulders and knees), diarrea, nausea, weakness and of course at this point some depression.

With the information overload that I've put myself through, I'm having the worst time of my life, I've literally exhausted all the options I can come up with, I'm really looking forward to hearing your thoughts, I'm sick of feeling awful and not having a clue of what I have, I still don't know what kind of UTI I might have and I'm still very aprehensive about the possiblity of HIV...

Would all of these antibiotics and other treatment delay my body's immune response and seroconversion? Could the symptoms of the acute primary infection last this long? Are the immunochromatographic test and the Oraquick as reliable as the ELISA test? Should I get a new ELISA test and when? (I'm currently on the 20th week after my exposure, should I re-test at 24 weeks?)

Thank you,

Response from Dr. Wohl

I do not know what is wrong with your health but I do know it is not HIV. Your testing is conclusive, your exposure minimal at best. Your symptoms sound nothing like HIV (trust me, I am an HIV doctor).

No need to retest. Your risk of a false positive is greater than your non-existant risk of being infected.

DW



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