Bruising Easily--Am I Positive?

Question

I am HIV-negative, but I have safe sex (no penetration) with my HIV-positive partner. He has been positive for 12 years, and one noticable symptom he has is that he bruises easily, and bruises take a long time to heal. Suddenly, I am having the same symptom, where before I was very difficult to bruise and they healed in 2 days. I still have "love bites" after a week. I've had no other symptoms of seroconversion. Should I be concerned?

Answer

Hi. Thank you for your question. In your post, you state that you have tested HIV negative. If you are testing HIV negative at the time that you're showing symptoms, it indicates that your symptoms are not HIV or AIDS related. An infected person first tests positive by 6 months after infection. Symptoms related to HIV/AIDS don't begin until an average of 10 years after infection. Therefore, a person first tests positive (by 6 months after infection), and then later on shows symptoms (an average of 10 years after infection). So if you're showing any symptoms now, and you continue to test HIV negative, that indicates that your symptoms are not HIV/AIDS related.

There are multiple reasons why a person could bruise easily, and then take a long time to heal. These are not necessarily HIV/AIDS related symptoms. There are other medical conditions which can lead to the same symptom. My suggestion to you is to see your physician and have a complete physical exam. Tell your physician the symptoms you've been having, so they can get an idea what illnesses to check you for. It's very important to remember that every symptom seen in persons with HIV/AIDS can be seen in other illnesses unrelated to HIV infection.

Your physician may choose to test you for HIV again, just to rule out HIV infection, especially since your partner is HIV positive. But they should also test you for other illnesses that can cause bruising, and related medical problems.

So at this time, you cannot assume your symptoms are HIV/AIDS related, even if your positive partner has the same or similar symptoms. But a complete physical exam, in addition to various laboratory tests, could help you determine what is causing your symptoms.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide). Rick Sowadsky MSPH CDS