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HIV and Shingles
Dec 12, 2001

Dr. Henry,

I used to be a member of the worried well, but after a negative ELISA 6 months after my "risky" encounter I began to get back to a normal life. Another 6 months passed and although it took awhile, I returned to my normal self and entered into a relationship with a wonderful girl. Before we became sexually active, we both decided to test for HIV. Both tests came back negative. However, just recently (4 months after testing) she came down with a mild case of Shingles which immediately sent me through the roof. I have read Shingles can be a symptom of HIV - especially in a young individual. Now what do we do? Re-test or chalk it up to cirsumstance? I am so worried I may have infected her. Please help.

Response from Dr. Henry

If you tested negative recently then it is very unlikely that she became HIV infected from you and then immediately developed shingles. That rarely happens. Shingles occurs in the general population and can be misdiagnosed as well (for example-regular herpes simplex). Since you have a tendency to worry a lot, get tested and then move on (a negative result is therapeutic). KH

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