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Sep 18, 2001

I'm 27, living in Vietnam. Five weeks ago, I had unprotected sexual contact. Some days later, I had blisters in the head of penis and developed flu-like symptoms (mild fever, pressure in the abdomen, pain in the groin and lower back). These symptoms soon disappeared, except blisters. But 2-3 weeks after exposure, I had flu-like symptoms again with mild fever, fatigue, sore throat, cough, swollen glands in the neck, diarrhea, skin rashes in the arms and legs, and a lot of sweat in the hands and feet. Now I feel burning sensation on the tongue and mouth wall. Base on what I have learnt from and other resources, I supposed to be infected with HSV and HIV at the same time. If it was right, does HSV affect to the progress of HIV infection, because I've had some symptoms referred to the late stages of HIV? I'm very anxious and not patient enough to wait for 3 months to have blood tested so could you please assert my status depending on these above symptoms! I have chronic inflammation in my mouth that always causes bleeding when I brush my teeth. Does it increase the risk of HIV transmission to my family members who share the glass and the basin with me? Thank you!

Response from Mr. Kull

I cannot tell you what is causing your symptoms. It is important to have any symptoms that are potentially related to sexually transmitted infections examined by a medical professional WHILE YOU ARE EXPERIENCING THE SYMPTOMS. "Blisters" on your penis may be related to herpes, and trained professionals should be able to make a clinical diagnosis of herpes lesions. Certain screening tests performed on fluid from the blisters can aid the diagnosis.

There is growing evidence that the presence of herpes infections can facilitate the transmission of HIV, but the mechanisms behind this are not too clear at this point. It is highly unlikely that your symptoms are AIDS-related this close to your exposure. However, if you are experiencing symptoms related to a sexually transmitted infection, it will be important for you to have an HIV antibody test at three months.

Sexually transmitted infections are spread to others through sexual contact, not sharing bathrooms.

Follow this link for specific websites on HIV/AIDS information in Vietnam (


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