at higher risk than most on here, will donate (ARS SYMPTOMS) (PRIMARY HIV INFECTION SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS)


i am going crazy and wont have access to a test again for 4.5 weeks, trust me i am getting one as soon as i step foot off the plane in the usa. however, until then i am going absolutely crazy. the reason is that my neck has been pressured and glands have felt swollen for over two months. i know how youve responded to many others in similar situations, but that just doesnt help because they arent my situation. i just have a few questions and a response from you would help immensly in calming my fears... for some reason (maybe its because i read on here first before anything else) i cant have any relaxation in my results because of your 3 month claims, and probably because i havent had any input from anyone from the usa (and i have more faith in our country than in any other on things like this). i realize why you say that but that mark keeps shooting holes in my happiness.
you dont have to post this, but will you please respond just so i can relax a little. i know im a paranoid individual, but you guys are the ones i seem to have put most of my trust in and noone elses opinions have seemed to matter at all.

anyway, the sitch: had unprotected oral in thailand and protected vaginal sex, though unprotected fingers (you can draw the obvious conclusion here). i noticed that i had a cut on my finger that could have come in contact for a few minutes with vaginal fluid, it wasnt bleeding and wasnt a fresh cut. i have been extremely paranoid ever since mainly because i now know the risk numbers there. i have had symptoms that ive never felt before, but dont seem to be what anyone would define as ars. so one question is that you guys deal with symptom questions all the time. but, what if someone is not showing chronic diarreah, chronic fever, geographic tongue, or chronic sore throat... does that mean that they likely havent contracted the disease (hiv)? basically, how many infected people show these symptoms before 3 months? secondly, i had tests at 5 and 7 weeks in singapore and bangkok respectively, both negative (though i realize what you say about the 3 month mark... i dont have that option yet so am just wanting to know your thoughts as of now). one of the doctors told me that the 7 week test can be considered conclusive due to advancements in testing and that i have had no major symptoms.

the symptoms i have had: swollen-feeling glands in my neck, tingling in my jaw, and some pain in the groin area and armpits, sometimes a weak feeling in my lungs, and a major case of paranoia!

what do you think my chances of having contracted the disease are? how much faith should i put into the other doctor saying that i can move on and consider my last test conclusive? mainly, if i meet someone before my next/final test, how much risk am i to their health? more importanly, how much risk is there to my health? i will make a donation as soon as im somewhere i feel safe entering my credit card information on a computer... which will be about the same time i can take the last test that will be conclusive. until then, will you please give me your thoughts on my situation? i understand you cant say anything at this point is conclusive, but what do you think my outcome will be?



I'll be brief, as I've answered many similar questions before. (Check the archives!)

Your HIV risk is extremely low (unprotected oral, vaginal fingering with healing non-bleeding cut). Protected sex is indeed protected, assuming the latex condom was used properly and didn't break.

Symptoms are notoriously unreliable in determining who is and is not HIV infected. For a discussion of acute retroviral syndrome (ARS) symptoms, see below.

HIV-antibody tests taken prior to the three-month mark are not considered to be definitive or conclusive. Consequently, your negative tests at five and seven weeks are encouraging, but not conclusive.

Good luck!

Dr. Bob

do i need a therapist or an hiv test ??!?!?!?! May 19, 2006

Dr. Bob, I emailed a few days ago and no response yet. I know you are incredibly busy spreading woo hoos and excellent advice, but this is killing me! Just a few questions: 1. You are often saying that "symptoms are not consistent with.." Well, what would be consistent with HIV? 2. What would the symptoms of an overactive immune system be? I have two lymph nodes on the back of my neck that often swell for a few days and then subside...then swell again. TRUST ME! They are swollen! The vicious cycle just keeps repeating for months! Also, I have experienced discomfort in my armpit area- just away from armpit, closer to bicep. Are these signs of HIV? 3. Is an HIV test routine during early pregnancy? Please help! After my possible exposure, I had about two weeks of malaise (no fever or rash) at the 7-8 week mark. I just haven't felt the same since- more allergy-like symptoms. I feel invaded! If ya know what I mean....any words of advice are greatly appreciated. Could you please tell me where to donate? Thank you!

Response from Dr. Frascino


  1. I've addressed this topic many times before. I'll repost a question from the archives below.

  2. What you describe is not consistent with HIV. "TRUST ME!" A discussion of an overactive immune system is beyond the scope of this forum and you don't have it. "TRUST ME!" I cannot diagnose the cause of your intermittently swollen glands over the Internet.

  3. The test should be offered, but I cannot say if it's "routine" in your area or not. Shouldn't you be asking your obstetrician?

  1. If you've placed yourself at risk for HIV, you'll need to get an HIV test at the three-month mark, whether or not you have symptoms.

  2. Donation information for The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation can be found on our Web site at Our address is:

The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation 1000 Fremont Ave., Suite 145 Los Altos, CA 94024

You're welcome!

Good luck!

Dr. Bob

need the truth, help me Dr Bob, another donation sent (ARS SYMPTOMS) May 13, 2006

You are an inspiration to all people to help each other. My prayers are with you. Please tell me what you consider to be ARS symptoms, when do they appear and how long do they last? Are any of the symptoms, or lack of specific symptoms, indictive of hiv infection or not. I know symptoms do not equal hiv, but please give me your opinion on these questions. Thanks.

Response from Dr. Frascino


I've addressed this topic many times before, so I'll just repost a question and my response from the archives. Nothing really has changed. Between 50% and 70% of individuals with HIV infection experience an acute retroviral syndrome three to six weeks after primary infection. Symptoms usually persist for one to several weeks and then gradually subside as the immune response to HIV develops and the level of plasma viremia decreases.

Hope that helps.

Dr. Bob

What are symptoms of ARS? May 23, 2004


I am an x-filer who still follows your forum for laughs, information, and curiosity. I realize that mosty people who write in to this particular forum merely think that they were exposed to HIV, and only a very, very small handful actually were. And an even smaller handful actually contract the virus.

My question to you is this: Seeing as how there is so much conflicting information out there regarding HIV and HIV ARS, could you please shed a little light on what you might consider a "typical" case of ARS?

And if I'm not stepping way out of line here, would you mind discussing what ARS was like for you? I completely understand if you don't feel that this is something for the masses, but there are many positive benefits to hearing things firsthand.

Regardless, I will continue to donate to Concerted Effort, and wish you all the best!

Response from Dr. Frascino


I don't believe there is such a thing as a "typical" case of ARS or a "compassionate" conservative. ARS symptoms vary greatly from person to person, and may be so mild as to go essentially unnoticed or be so severe as to be debilitating. I can give you the frequency in the form of percentages of various signs and symptoms of primary HIV infection. Perhaps that will help. Fever 96%, enlarge lymph nodes 74%, sore throat 70%, rash 70%, muscle aches 54%, diarrhea 32%, headache 32%, nausea and vomiting 27%, enlarged liver/spleen 14%, weight loss 13%, thrush 12%, neurologic symptoms 12%. Remember, however, that symptoms, even all of the above listed symptoms, do not equal HIV disease. There are many illnesses that can cause these symptoms. The only way to know if you've contracted HIV is to get tested.

My ARS included seven of the symptoms listed above.

Thanks for your willingness to donate. Details about the Foundation can be found at

Stay well.

Dr. Bob