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Symptoms & testing. Need experts' advice.
      #111918 - 09/25/04 03:48 PM

The worst nightmares of my life started half year ago while my work in the south of Namibia. After a few months of preassure being drunk following a terrible stress I had sex with one of the local girls. My nightmare started as soon as I realized that was reality. Actually my risk of contracting HIV from the exposure was not that high. She is very likely positive as about 40% of the population there is HIV+.
She performed unprotected oral on me and then we had a long (more than an hour) protected vaginal intercourse. But for the reason I can't recall now I changed condom in the middle of intercourse. The old condom didn't fail so I don't understand why I did that. After taking off the old condom I had vaginal secretions on the fingers of both of my hands and stupidly thinking I was safe immediately put a new condom on. In the morning I found out that girl had her period at the time... So there was blood my fingers, that certainly could be under a new condom. A few more minor exposures could be from using my saliva for lubrication a couple of times and from a few deep scratches the girl left on my arms and back as she might have had some vaginal secretions under her nails because I remember I asked her to play with herself.
Well now on to the symptoms. Besides the anxiety and guilt I developed a slight fewer two weeks later which was with me for months. One month after that accident I had to treat chlamydia and trichomoniasis
with antibiotics. One month later I went to doc with strong pain in the right side of abdomen. But besides that doc diagnosed sore throat with rash on it and said it was just an ordinary viral flu. As for liver she thougt that was because of strong antibiotics I used to treat STDs after my labs came back negative for hepatitis and ALT was double the normal level. At the time I developed some strange rash on my palms, wrists and fingers. That rash persisted for 2-3 months. And that rash wasn't due to some allergy according to CBC I made at the time.
At one month mark I tested negative for HIV with EIA and DNA PCR tests. In fact I was so anxious about HIV that tested many times out to 16 weeks with different test assays for HIV-1, HIV-2, HIV-1 group O and p24 antigen. All tests came back negative. At the time the rash almost gone but I developed strange acne on my forearms, shoulders, back and neck.
To rest my mind I took another DNA PCR followed by EIA antibody test (both were negative/not detectable) and even made test of T-cell subsets at 17 weeks. The result of the latter: CD4=1250, CD8=536, CD3 Average=1853. I also tested negative for syphilis two times at 3 weeks and 3 months.
Well I just started to calm down but two weeks later I developed swollen lymph node at the back of my neck. I have never had swollen lymph nodes before. So it is very strange for me and scares me most of all. It is hard, not painful and about 1 cm in diameter. And I still have it swollen! About two months now.
I tested negative for HIV with 4th generation EIA again sharp at 22 weeks and about 4 weeks after I developed swollen lymph node. This time I tested for EBV as well. The result was reactive with a high titer of antibody to EBV postifection IgG and not reactive for EBV early antigen. Unfortunately it was too late to say whether I contracted EBV this time or in my childhood.
So on to my questions. Can anybody out there advise me anything? What was the real risk of my exposure? Are my symptoms suggestive of HIV? Are my tests out to 22 weeks conclusive or should I retest now at 26 weeks? Should I get tested for HIV again and again out to 1 year? Could the lymph node be swollen due to EBV if it is in the stage I described?
Any opinion is highly appreciated.
Sorry for such a long post. Thank you.
I'm just tired to death from that story and from living in the outer space for so many months.

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Re: Symptoms & testing. Need experts' advice. new
      #111925 - 09/25/04 11:57 PM

this story has always stuck with me....."I am a link in a chain of sick people" June 11, 2004 good luck!

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Reged: 02/26/04
Posts: 272
Loc: Arizona
Re: Symptoms & testing. Need experts' advice. new
      #112160 - 10/02/04 06:47 AM

Five months negative...Congratulations you are NOT HIV according to most guidelines.

I am not a doctor. Your lymph nodes being swollen, could be virus or cold. Before my exposure, my lymph nodes swole every time I had any cold. If you are concerned about your symptoms, go see your doctor again, maybe retest for all your recent previous ailments. Sometimes ailments aren't totally eliminated on the first try (ie..drug non-compliance of taking RX or mixing with alcohol with antibiotics.) If he says you are fine, let it go, relax and have some fun. The mind is an incredible thing and under so much stress...the mind can really play with the body.

Good Luck!

"No act of kindness,
no matter how small,
is ever wasted." AESOP

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