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HIV and Staph infection
Feb 20, 1997

Hi. Thank you for your time. Three and a half months ago I had a brief sexual encounter with a guy who was recovering form staph infection and also had herpes, but neglected to tell me that. We had unprotected sex once and he did not ejaculate inside me. I went in today for a test and am anxious to get the results. I guess I was wondering if he did have HIV, would his staph infection last longer, or would it be unaffected by HIV. He was given antibiotics but did not finish taking them, and the staph came back. He developed thrush and was so sick that he had to go to the hospital. He has not been tested yet. If he were HIV positive, would the staph last longer, and would the herpes be harder to fight off? Is it possible that the thrush was just a result of the staph? Does a person's immune system play a role in whether or not they contract HIV? I have not been sick in over a year-no colds or flus. How worried should I be? I also did not contract herpes from him, thankfully. Thank you for your time.

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question.

If a person has HIV, diseases like Staph and Herpes can be much more severe, and much harder to treat. However, just because he's having these problems, does not necessarily mean he has HIV. However, it would probably be a good idea for him to get tested. This is especially important since he also has Thrush. Thrush (a yeast infection in the mouth) is usually only seen in adults when there is a problem with the immune system (due to HIV or other causes). This may also explain his problems with Staph and Herpes. However, I am also concerned when you told me that he did not finish taking his antibiotics against the staph. This can lead to drug resistance, making treatment of the staph even harder. The golden rule of taking antibiotics, is that one should take the entire prescription (even if you're feeling better), unless otherwise directed by a physician. In his case, getting tested for HIV would be a good idea, but because he did not take all of his antibiotics, treatment of his staph infection may be much more difficult.

Even if he does have HIV, this doesn't necessarily mean that you got infected, especially if he did not ejaculate inside of you. But since there was still some risk, getting tested (as you have) is a good idea. If your test is negative, you will still have to be tested again at 6 months, since some people with HIV can take as long as 6 months to show positive on the test. Keep in mind that this guy's symptoms may be unrelated to HIV, but it would be a good idea for him to get tested, based on the information you have told me. But even if he does have HIV, doesn't necessarily mean that you have it too. But testing will answer these concerns.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).



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