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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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HIV scared
Sep 17, 2005

Hi Dr. Brian, I have a couple of questions about HIV. On June 28, 2005, I had received unprotected oral sex from a sex worker. She had kept me in her mouth and swallowed after I had ejaculated. She then began to lick the very tip of my penis after this for a few moments. Now she had looked as though she had been beaten up a few days earlier. She had what seemed to be scabbed over wounds on her face, I did not see any blood on her. Then about a week after that on July 4th, I received unprotected oral sex from another female sex worker. This time no ejaculation, I didn't even stay erect very long. I think the whole thing lasted less than 6 or 7 minutes. Then yet again on July 8th, I received protected oral from another female sex worker, then we had protected vaginal intercourse. Neither time did I ejaculate or even get hard, but my condom was only on about 3/4 of the way. I also remember having some sort of rash on my inner thighs. They were red and sort of burning, like jock itch. If her secretions came in contact with the rash is it possible to contract HIV this way? Now my questions, about 2 or 3 weeks after this, I started having different symptoms, I was getting light headed, a couple of bouts of diarrhea, sore throat, and a couple of mild things. I had an orasure test, for HIV, done on August the 8th which came back negative. On August 30th I had a blood test done for HIV, hepatitis A & C, liver enzyme tests, cholesterol, and glucose test. All of them were negative except for cholesterol which came in at 221. Question 1) how accurate are these tests at the times I had taken them from my possible expossure to any disease. It has now been near 10 weeks and I am still having some symptoms. Like abdominal pain, diarrhea, headaches,lightheadedness, nausea. I get hungry then as soon as I eat I feel sick, mouth ulcers, and small purple dots on inside of cheeks. I have another test on October 10th, but I feel like I'm going to explode before then. Question 2) Could all these symptoms just be my nerves? Please answer so I can start feeling better. Thank you.

Response from Dr. Conway

The tests you have had done are quite accurate, and you are right to think that a test in October (3 months after the last risk exposure) would settle the matter of whether you may have acquired HIV in July or not. The symptoms you describe are very non-specific and could be anything, including acute HIV infection. You should see the doctor to establish whether you have a bowel infection or something else.

If you are worried about HIV, I would recommend 2 things:

1. You can speak to your doctor about having a CD4 cell count or plasma viral load test done.

2. You need to remember how worried you are now as you are making decisions about your sexual behavior in the future.

Good luck, my friend...

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