ARS 3 Days Later?

Question

Hi Dr. Bob,

I just read your short bio on this site; thank you for your service.

My question:

Is it possible to experience the symptoms of Acute/Primary HIV infection only 72 hours after exposure? I am a male and had hetero-vaginal sex with a female w/o a condom (never again after this scare). About 2 and a half days later, I began feeling week and ran a fever with general weakness/fatigue for just three days with a slight sore throat. I was perfectly fine after about the 5th day from the onset of my fever. Now, I was working long hours with minimal sleep that week, and then went out every night that weekend, so I was probably already susceptible to being sick, but I am scared I may have been exhibiting a primary reaction to HIV.

I am awaiting the result of my PCR test that I took about a week from possible exposure, but I am curious to hear what you think about the chances of what I experienced being an early response to HIV.

Thanks for your attention. Best of luck in 2008.

Answer

Hi,

Generally speaking HIV ARS (acute retroviral syndrome) symptoms become manifest at two-four weeks following primary HIV infection. Your 72-hour symptoms most likely are not HIV related. The odds you were not infected due to this one-time lapse in judgment are astronomically in your favor. However, since you did decide to go commando-Rambo on your gal-pal, you do need HIV testing. I'd recommend a rapid test or ELISA at the three-month mark.

Good luck and Happy New Year.

Dr. Bob