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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Scary side effects or Seroconversion??? Very Scared
Sep 27, 2006

I have told this story numerous times, but I will make this short. I has sex w/ a guy, he pulled out & ejaculated. He said his status was negative, but since I didn't knnow him all that... well, I didn't take his word for it, & knowing his lifestyle (having sex w/ a lot of women) I decided to go on PEP. My doctor prescribed Combivir for 4 weeks. On the 26th day of treatment I had sex w/ the same guy, this time... the condom broke & he came inside me. My doctor prescribed me another 28 days of Combivir w/ SUstiva also. 2 weeks after being on both Sustiva & Combivir my cycle came on. This was strange b/c my cycle wasn't due until another week. I also got diarrhea. On day 16, I ran a fever on & off from normal 97.8 to 101. On day 18, I past out & was rushed to the hospital. They said I was dehydrated. They also did a urinalysis. My urine was blood shot red. They said I had a urnary track infection & that I was also pregnant & the bleeding I had was probably breakthrough bleeding. I went home w/ the medicine they gave me. Between this time I went to another hospital, they said I was not pregnant, but I did have the UTI. So basically I had been prescribed Bactrim, Cipro, & diphenoxylate atropine sulfate between the two hospitals. I had stop taking Sustiva on day 22, because it seemed to make me feel more feverish & I felt like I coudn't eat. So I continued the Combivir w/ the Cipro & diphenoxylate atropine sulfate. On day 24 I developed a very itchy..., extremely... itchy rash on my arms & the back of my neck. On the last day of my PEP treatment I was rushed back to the hospital, the same hospital I had been at the first time. I had a fluctuating fever, normal & then not normal. My urine was still red, I had a throbbing painful headache, & I had basically no energy. They said from my last visit my red blood cell ount had ddropped fom a 12 to a 5, & I required a blood transfusion. They also said my urinary track was still there, & it may have been due to me switching medicines. & the rash was probably due to me having an allergic reaction to sulfur, or possibly the antiviral drugs. After the blood tranfusion, the headache went away, I got my appetite back a day after, & I could walk without feeling real tired & drained. I stayed in the hospital for 7 days. They concluded that the antivirals destroyed my red blood cells because they are powerful medications. They gave me another antibiotic for my UTI during my stay, & a steriod shot for the rash. The rash went away, & my urine returned back to normal after my 4th day in the hospital. & my fever went away also. My diarrhea went away after I started eating more & more. They also confirmed that I was no longer pregnant & it was a possibilty I had a misscarriage since I have the positive antinuclear antibody (I do not have Lupus). They did a rapid hiv test & an Elisa test , this is at week 5, & both were negative. My red blood cell count has remained stable. But where the rash was is dry skin & it has been 3 weeks since the outbreak of the rash, it's no longer itchy, & again it has went away , but now it's just dry skin on my arms that is flaky like. I know I still need to be tested at 3 months. I had no other cold symptoms & no swollen lymphnodes. But I'm still very scared & nervous at this point & loosing sleep every night. I'm trying to stay positive & believe that the guy is negative & he told me the truth. But the timing of my sickness & everything is too much of a coincidence (seroconversion time). My question is could my experience be a side effect of medications or could I have been seroconverting?

Response from Dr. Henry

Symptoms most likely from your various medications and not related to seroconversion. Agree with recommendation to follow-up at 3 months. KH

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