Early ARS Symptoms - additional follow-up


Dr. Bob:

Sorry for this additional email from my post yesterday in response to the original email you answered on the 16th (and wanting to thank you and wish you holiday greetings).

I was hoping the last follow-up email would be it, but did want to mention that last night my ear was bothering me again and I think I started developing a sore throat, but only on the side where my ear was bothering me. As I mentioned before, I'm hoping that the sore throat is related to it, although I haven't seen it as a usual symptom. I'm going to try and check it out today.

You might recall from my earlier follow up that although I said there was no blood from the scratches, I should have clarified that there was blood but it had dried up when I saw it when I got home from the massage, but it looked fresh enough that I thought it likely I got it during the massage. The cuts were tiny, 1-2 mm, and it looked more as if I had scraped my hand.

I know your assessment might not change at all despite a small cut that bled on my hand and the addition of a sore throat as a symptom (although still no fever) since it is technically early for ARS symptoms to begin showing, but again I'd just thought I'd throw it out there.

I'll put in in an easy question form in the event you do feel like answering. 1) Would the fact that my scratch was bleeding at the time change your assessment of the risk (again massessuese was fully clothed and I did not touch her fluids - unless it was through clothes - and did not notice any blood on her hands, although I was not looking for it specifically) 2) Would this sore throat, plus the other "symptoms" I have still be considered too early and not consistent with ARS? 3) testing is still not needed or warranted.

In any case, this gives me the chance to thank you again and wish you happy holidays.



  1. My assessment, as anticipated, remains completely unchanged!

  2. Yes.

  3. Correct!

Stop worrying. You are just fine and dandy, OK?

Happy Healthy Holidays!

Dr. Bob

Early ARS symptoms? Dec 16, 2009

Dr. Bob:

I submitted this question before but thought I'd take a different angle because of recent developments. Went to a massage parlor late last week and got a full body massage, and then at the end she gave me a handjob. The masseuse was clothed during the entire massage and I never touched her skin (except maybe for an ankle, or something minor like that).

I wouldn't even be worrying about this except after I left and went home, I found a few tiny scratches on the back of my hand not more than a few millemeters long. They weren'y bleeding but looked fresh leading me to believe the massage might have caused it.

I know this is essentially a no-risk situation for me, but I've also been getting a few "symptoms"that made me doubt myself. My arms have been sore leading me to believe that I have sore lymph nodes in my armpits (although how can you tell exactly?) Also I've had an irritation in my groin, although it comes and goes with one side usually bothering me more. Also, it doesn't always seem consistent, and I've had it for a few weeks. Finally, I think I've had a sore lymph node in my neck for a few weeks as well, but only on one side, which I've tried to reason has to do with an possible ear infection for me.

However, the night before last I had a bout with diahrrea although it seems only to have been a one-time occurence. I also woke up twice during the night with night sweats, although they were not somewhat mild and not drenching (hair was sweaty but not shirt)

Then last night, I was nauseous (sp?) and ended up throwing up, but then a little bit later was able to eat without any repeat occurrence or feeling of nausea. I had a big lunch before and so was hoping that I ate too much or just had something that didn't settle right with me, or perhaps I just caught a simple stomach virus from the night before when I had the diahrrea.

Again, I wouldn't be worried with any one of these occurences. However, having them all about the same time and checking the archives and noting the "symptoms" for ARS from previous posts, it has me worried a little worried.

So I guess my questions would be: (1) the risk for this type of situation is essentially nonexistent (using your words), correct? (2)even if there were a risk, its too early for me to begin exhibiting ARS symptoms and/or (3) the symptoms are not consistent with ARS, correct? (4) would you even recommend testing for something like this?

I'm sorry to keep pelting you with questions since I know you're busy but these last few things I mentioned have made me worry. You're a great help and I've already made a donation.

Response from Dr. Frascino


"I know this is essentially a no-risk situation . . . ." I absolutely agree, except you can leave off the "essentially" part!

Your "symptoms" are not at all worrisome for HIV acute retroviral syndrome (ARS).

To address your specific questions:

  1. Nonexistent! Period.

  2. ARS symptoms generally become manifest two to three weeks after primary HIV infection.

  3. Correct.

  4. Nope!

Thanks for your tax-deductible donation to The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org). It's warmly appreciated.

Happy Health Holidays. Stop worrying!

Dr. Bob