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If it isn't ARS, then what is it?
      #18190 - 06/04/01 06:21 PM

Hello I'm from Mexico and after 40 days of having protected sex with a prostitute (she provided the condom and I didn't see it broke) I started to experience all of the syptoms of ARS: white tongue, night sweats with high pulse, swollen lymph nodes on my neck, numbness on my hands and feet, spots inside my mouth, short breathing.
Now after 2 weeks I'm feeling better wich is worrying more because I read that ARS lasts for about 2 to 4 weeks.
I've read posts here of people saying that these are not necesarily related to hiv, that they may be related to other illnesess. So what are those other illnesess if all my life I'd been a healthy and happy person?

I'll let this month pass to have my test at the 3th month of this STUPID act which has ruined my life. The only thing I'd like is that someone give me a little hope that there may be another reason for this and not HIV because I'm feeling dead at 24. I'd really appreciate your comments.

For those who are passing through the same situation here's my mail:


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Re: If it isn't ARS, then what is it? new
      #18195 - 06/04/01 10:11 PM

Hey there,

First things first - your worry that you are "dead at 24" could very well be causing many of your symptoms! Never underestimate the power of the mind. We have the ability to heal - and harm - ourselves with our own brainpower. Stress, fear, and anxiety on a constant basis will destroy your immune system and make you susceptible to all kinds of illnesses.

Having protected sex, even if it was with a prostitute, reduces your risk of catching HIV and other STDs significantly, especially if the condom did not break. Chances are that what you're experiencing is not ARS.

There are many illnesses that can cause flu-like symptoms - the most obvious, of course, is the flu. Fever, diarrhea, and muscle aches are all indicative of influenza. Night sweats occur when a fever breaks, and, at the risk of scaring you, night sweats can also occur with cancer (please do not let that worry you - I'm just pointing out that it is not specific only to ARS). Swollen lymph nodes are another common ailment - the reason they swell is because your body is producing antibodies and white blood cells to fight off infection. This can occur with strep throat, mumps, mononucleosis - basically anything. It's just a sign that your immune system is in attack mode. And as for the oral ailments (white tongue, spots, etc.), those can occur due to poor oral hygiene or, really, for no reason at all. It's the same as getting a cold - sometimes things just happen for no discernible reason. It doesn't mean you have HIV.

While you're waiting out this last month, try to focus on the fact that you did have protected sex, and that your chances of having contracted anything are almost nil. Don't let this ruin your life. Find some ways to calm yourself when you get anxious, and remember that the 3-month mark will soon arrive, and you can put this incident behind you. And please learn to forgive yourself - you are only human, after all :)


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Reged: 09/19/00
Posts: 280
Re: If it isn't ARS, then what is it? new
      #18198 - 06/04/01 11:14 PM

Hello there. I don't mean to trivialize your situation but hear this from someone who's been there, done that, your symptoms are caused by excessive stress. Try to hang loose and not think about HIV and test after 12 weeks. When your mind starts to wander, just remember that you had protected sex.

Good luck.


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Re: If it isn't ARS, then what is it? new
      #18200 - 06/04/01 11:36 PM

I'm with PVS. Take it from someone who's been there and went through all sorts of strange ailments from swollen lymph nodes, diarrhea, joint and muscle pain, numbness in hands and feet, shortness of breath, difficulty concentrating, insomnia, night sweats, rash...I could go on and on. My doctors couldn't find a damn thing wrong with me and I went through the gambit of blood tests. I tested negative at 3 months.

You risk was very low but it's worth getting tested at any rate so you can put your mind at ease.

Take care of yourself.

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Again new
      #18201 - 06/05/01 02:17 AM

Can another std or antibiotics used to fight them cause ARS like symptoms?

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Thank u all so much new
      #18202 - 06/05/01 02:23 AM

Thank u all so much for your support. You and my mother have given me the courage of facing this situation. Thank, thanks so much

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Reged: 06/04/01
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Re: Again new
      #18211 - 06/05/01 02:24 PM

In answer to your question, the symptoms you say you are experiencing are not ones usually associated with an STD.

The most common STD, chlamydia, usually has no symptoms, especially for males. A test can be done through your urologist, and it is easily treated with antibiotics.

Gonorrhea usually manifests itself in the form of painful discharge from the penis, which you are not experiencing. This STD is also easily treated with medication.

If you had syphilis, you would have experienced a painful canchre (sore) at the point where the virus entered your body (most likely the penis or other mucous membrane) about ten days after exposure. A flu-like illness may or may not follow. Syphilis is detected through a blood test - similar to HIV - and can be cured with medication.

Herpes also manifests itself in the form of a flu-like illness about ten days to a month after exposure. You may experience an outbreak of lesions, or you may not - the herpes virus can lay dormant for many, many years. The first outbreak is usually the most severe. If you do have an outbreak of sores (they will be painful blisters filled with fluid) the doctor will test some of this fluid for the herpes virus. You can also have a blood test done if you are not having an outbreak. There is no cure for herpes, but it can be controlled through medications such as Zovirax and Valtrex.

Genital warts, caused by the Human Papilloma Virus, are painless, flesh-colored bumps of varying size. Some may be so small you cannot see them. An easy home test for warts is to soak a cotton ball in white table vinegar and rub it over your penis. If you have warts, they will turn white and become visible. I am unsure if there is a test to detect HPV in males even if they are not experiencing an outbreak (there is such a test for females - the Pap smear) so you may want to ask your doctor. Again, there is no cure for HPV, but it can be controlled, and many people are living happy and productive lives despite the inconvenience of this disease.

Also, no antibiotics that I know of could cause symptoms such as yours. However, some antibiotics from the class of drugs known as Sulfa do cause allergic reactions in many people (I am one of them). In my case, I break out in hives, but the reactions may vary. You may want to check to see if you are allergic to Sulfa drugs.

Hope this information is useful - and most important, stop worrying! You will be perfectly fine :)


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