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ARS symptoms or something else?
      #25010 - 11/26/01 03:58 PM

I have had constant unusual symptoms for the last 7 and a half weeks. It all started about a week after a one night stand with a woman.

The risk was low: protected vaginal and anal sex and unprotected oral cunnilingus.

I don't remember the condom breaking or slipping or being out of date, but I can't be 100% sure.

The symptoms are as follow and have been with me every day since then:
* really strong headaches (back and front of the head)
* itching particularly in my hands and feet
* white tongue and bad taste in my mouth
* sore arm pits
* pain in my neck and my shoulders
* fatigue (during and at the end of the day so much I feel very sleepy)
* nose bleed and red eyes
* no fever

I took an ELISA/p24 test at 7 weeks and a RNA/bDNA at 6 weeks and they both came back negative.

My doctor has done all the general blood work and nothing unusual is showing up.

I have read a lot of the posts on this forum and it seems that sometimes these symptoms can be related to something else than HIV.

I know it is hard (and not recommended) to try to self diagnose oneself but can anybody suggest a possible cause to these symptoms?

I plan on getting another ELISA test this week (week 9) and one more in 3 weeks (right before Xmas...).


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Reged: 01/15/01
Posts: 103
Re: ARS symptoms or something else? new
      #25019 - 11/27/01 01:56 AM

The trouble is I know how hard it is NOT to try to self diagnose oneself, recommended or not!

By all means get another ELISA test this week. From what you've said about your risk, and from your negative tests so far, you should be confident that it will be negative. Trouble is symptoms aren't likely to go completely away overnight and the way they seem to feed off each other might understandably make feeling confident difficult for you.

Obviously, the test will say for definite, and testing in itself can be a coping mechanism for a while. But the anxiety in itself can indeed cause all these things.

The fact that all the symptoms you have mentioned, bar none, have all been mentioned a good deal of times on this board, by people who have all ultimately been HIV negative, means that the probable cause to your symptoms is the stress and anxiety related to your worries about HIV. And nothing more.

This is especially true considering the risk was so low. You had protected sex, and the fact you don't remember the condom breaking slipping almost certainly means that it didn't! I know you say you can't be 100% sure, but from my experience and reading other stories, when it breaks, believe me, you know about it!

As for the unprotected oral, from what I've read, the risk is only theoretical, which to the experts, if you trust them, and I believe you should, means that it can be confidently assumed to mean no risk.

The fact that you've had the symptoms every day since for over 7 weeks is not at all unusual as quite a few people who've been here would agree. Speaking personally, I had the same or similar experiences, as well as all sorts of others. I felt I couldn't write it off as stress, because I didn't realise I was stressed. (In fact, the stress was obviously manifesting itself as all those symptoms). It only takes you to notice one or two symptoms to get you thinking, then worrying, then experiencing a whole load more.

Also, there were always one or two symptoms I could never find in all the stress manuals I read. Examples were the sore armpits (I also had sore groin and neck) and the one or two nose bleeds I had. But who knows, I personally think that this sort of anxiety, which goes on constantly for weeks, can cause these and other symptoms besides.

So I would say your symptoms can be related to something else than HIV. Namely HIV specific anxiety.

Even if some of the symptoms you describe stick around for a while, I hope and believe you'll have 9 and 12 week negatives and a happy Xmas!

All the best

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