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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Sep 7, 2006

Dear Dr

I took Combivir 17 hours after a high risk exposure for 28 days. Developed suggestive symptoms at day 22 after exposure, swollen tonsils and white, spotty tongue alone persist today at 8 weeks post exposure.

Tests to date - ELISA negative at 5 weeks, P24 duo negative at 6 weeks and RNA PCR negative at 7 weeks. I know this is not conclusive but could you give an indication of how likely it might be that I am infected given these results. I just spoke to a nurse and he said that symptoms are typically the result of a high viral load. Can symptoms manifest with an undetected viral load?

Many many thanks. The work you do on this website has preserved my sanity over the last two months.

Response from Dr. Frascino


Your negative ELISA, p24 duo and PCR-RNA out to seven weeks are extremely encouraging that you did not contract HIV from your high-risk exposure. Generally speaking, I agree with the advice the nurse gave you. ARS symptoms generally occur as the viral load is shooting up and the body's immune system is trying to kick in to fight the invading germ (HIV).

Good luck on your post-PEP follow-up tests.

Dr. Bob

hiv and immuno-suppressants like arava or remicade

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