hair loss, swollen glands - hiv positive?


Hi Dr. Bob,

I would like to ask - why do you post so many questions from idiots who ask stupid things like, I had protected sex with no condom breakage and I kissed someone - do I have hiv? Or I got a massage in Asia, do I have HIV? These questions I feel are just a waste of space and for people who had real risky encounters there is nothing more annoying then reading all those ridiculus notions while trying to find real info in the archives! Surely these people do not read the archive otherwise they would clearly know the answer!

Ok, now I have that off my chest I feel alot better! I hope I havent turn you against answering my questions.... well, here it goes.

In Nov/Dec I had a relationship (protected sex but condom brakage with ejaculation) this person lied to me and said they knew their HIV status, it turned out they did not!

I tested negative via ELISA at 2/4/12/16 weeks but,

I had an operation in Dec and since this date my hair has been steadily falling out.

Now since late April (17weeks), my throat is continually sore with swollen glands and my groin and arm pit glands continue to swell at random. I know symptoms dont = HIV but I have never had these symptoms before for no reason.

Im really confused. Could you please give me your advice on the followning questions.

  1. At what stage of HIV does hair loss normally occur? I cant find anything definite on this subject in the archives.

  2. What is your opinion on testing negative at 16 weeks then experiening symptoms? Could it be that I am a late seroconverter?

I plan to get tested at 6 months for definte result but if you could still please give me your point of view for the interim it would be much appreciated.

Thank-you so much for your time and also for the wonderful job you do on this web site, stupid questions aside, this web site has taught me alot about a disease which before then I knew very little about.

Hope I can someday WooHoo like so many WW before me.

Many Thanks, Natalie


Hello Natalie,

Sorry you are not pleased by some of the questions posted here, but I can assure you everyone who writes in is indeed very worried about his or her personal situation. Just like you!

Now let's look at your question: possible exposure (condom break) followed by repeatedly negative ELISA tests out to 16 weeks and some hair loss, swollen glands and sore throat. You state you "know that symptoms do not equal HIV disease." OK. So now many folks reading this post are complaining, just as you did, that Dr. Bob is posting another worried-well complainer who has tested conclusively negative, realized symptoms do not equal HIV disease and yet continues to worry about symptoms nonetheless. And so it goes . . . on and on . . . .

OK, back to your questions:

  1. The reason you can't find anything definite about in "what stage of HIV hair loss normally occurs" is that there is no such information. Hair loss does not "normally occur" at any state of HIV disease. Hair loss can result from many causes poor nutrition, medications, heredity, hormonal problems, etc. If you are having a problem, check with your doctor or go see a dermatologist.

  2. My opinion on testing negative out to 16 weeks is that, barring unusual circumstances, you are HIV negative and any symptoms you are experiencing are not a consequence of HIV disease.

OK, as for anyone criticizing you for posting your question or me for answering it, I think before anyone criticizes someone they should walk a mile in his/her shoes. That way, if he/she gets angry, he/she will be a mile away and barefoot!

As far as HIV is concerned, Natalie, I suggest, barefoot or not, your WOO-HOO day is here.

Dr. Bob