Please answer Dr. Bob. I just donated to your fine organization. I know you are busy, but I am losing my mind here.
I thought I would get some piece of mind after a 3 month negative OraQuick Rapid Advance 1/2 result. Sadly, that has not been the case.
I also wish that my story involved some steaming hunk of man-flesh, thus inducing you to answer, but sadly, my exposure was vaginal sex with a rather unattractive prostitute. I don't know what I was thinking at the time. She told me that it was her first time performing full service "in a long time." However, I did not ask her about her HIV status. I'm an idiot, I know.
Anyway, I wore a condom, but it popped like a balloon. I felt it pop and pulled out immediately, literally the second it happened. She seemed to be freaked out about the incident, which sort of made me more comfortable. You know, I figured she thought that I might have something and was worried about herself. Then I started to worry that she knew that she had something and was feeling guilty for possibly giving it to me. Ugggghhh, this just sucks. At any rate, she then gave me unprotected oral for a minute. However, I was turned off at this point, and was starting to sober up, and called an end to the whole episode. I wish I had done this from the start.
Anyway, about a week later, I began to feel a generalized itching (but no rash) in my groin area. Then my balls started to really hurt, like they were being squeezed. I started doing some research and figured that it must be chlamydia. At this point, I told my fiance, yes my fiance, about what I had done. I have been racked with guilt Doc, racked. However, she has been incredibly supportive. She didn't get mad. I mean, she was upset, however, she was more concerned than anything.
Anyway, I went to a urologist to get tested. However, before he even got the results, he prescribed tetracycline. I guess he figured that I must have had something. So, I started taking the medicine.
At any rate, I was starting to lose weight at this point, I was having stomach cramps, diarrhea, fatigue, loss of appetite, crazy anxiety, etc. Then, ironically, the worst news of all came - The urologist tells me that I tested negative for chlamydia and gonorrhea and that I should stop taking the tetracycline. This should be great news right? But now I was like, well then what the hell is it? What the hell are all these symptoms? Immediately I began suspect HIV.
The symptoms persisted, and by the 4 week mark, I had lost about ten pounds, I had swollen lymph nodes in my groin and under arm, I was having muscle cramps, stomach cramps, intermittent diarrhea, fatigue, head aches, etc.
I then got a slew of tests, I tested about every other week out to 13 weeks. I also got a Pro-viral DNA PCR test at 8 weeks. All negative. So, I know that the PCR thing isn't conclusive. However, I was confident that the full 3 month result was "woo-hooable" as is your way of saying "conclusive."
Anyway, I was happy as hell with this result until about two weeks ago when I began to get a weird white growth on the back of my tongue, basically surrounding the taste buds. It is white and bumpy, and vaguely extends down the length of the top of my tongue. I tried to brush it with my toothbrush, and to my satisfaction, at first, it came right off and went away. Unfortunately, about 3 days later, it came back. So, I brushed it again, but, it came back again. And to top it off, it burns.
So, now I'm freaking out that it's thrush, that my immune system sucks, and that's why I haven't developed antibodies, and that's why I have thrush, etc. So, I go to my doctor, who has been treating me throughout this entire ordeal. I started visiting him about 4 weeks into the ordeal. Even back then, he was basically been telling me that the odds are way in my favor, that I probably don't have it, etc.
At any rate, after looking at my tongue for all of 3 seconds, he told me that I don't have oral thrush. Instead, he tells me that my taste buds are inflamed, my papillae are reacting to something,etc. He said that it might be characterized as "hairy tongue." Anyway, I told him that I had been taking creatine powder to bulk up when I lift for about the past 3 weeks, that it doesn't really dissolve in water, that it's sort of abrasive, etc. He seemed to think that this might be the cause, but didn't seem so sure. He told me to stop taking it for a couple of weeks to see. He also told me to brush my tongue. Anyway, I was sort of put off by the quickness of the visit. Literally, he examined me for about five seconds. I get the feeling that he thinks I'm a nut for being concerned about HIV, like he's not taking me seriously. I guess this is a good sign, meaning that he really thinks I'm negative. On the other hand, I'm worried that he's ignoring what is clearly HIV infection. I'm saying that in sort of tongue in cheek fashion, but sort of not.
So, on the whole, I was pretty relieved to hear that I didn't have thrush. However, out of curiosity, I jumped on the internet to look up "hairy tongue" to find out what the heck it is, what else to do about it, etc. Bam, I find all these sites that talk about "hairy tongue" being prevalent in HIV+ men, that it can be the precursor to thrush, that it can be the sign of a weak immune system, etc., etc.
So now I'm back to square one. My fiance and I go to get tested. I'm now negative at the 18 week mark. She tested negative 17 weeks after we last had sex.
So, after all that blabbering, my questions are:
What can you tell me about "hairy tongue," inflamed paplillae, etc, and their relation to early HIV infection.
Is my 18 week negative antibody result, along with an 8 week negative PCR result conclusive? Can I woo hoo? Or does this blasted "hairy tongue," inflamed taste buds, freaking papillae stuff warrant further testing?
Can I move on with my life? Or do I have to live with the guilt of possibly ruining my fiance's life by cheating with a call girl?
Thanks doc, all the best,
Hello Burning Tongue,
You are correct, a "steaming hunk of man-flesh" would have helped in sifting through such a long-winded story that clearly has absolutely nothing to do with HIV/AIDS! Couldn't you have at least made something up? Perhaps your doctor, the one who's fed up with your irrational HIV fears, could be a totally spunky muscle dude who likes to wear tank-tops in the office? OK, never mind; back to the dull unattractive prostitute and your questions:
The vast majority of "hairy tongue" cases and inflamed papillae have absolutely nothing to do with HIV, as in your case.
Yes, absolutely conclusive. Yes, you should have been WOO-HOOing long ago! No further testing is warranted.
Yes, you should move on. No, you should no longer feel guilty. You've leveled with your fiancée and you've dodged the STD/HIV bullet!
Stop worrying and start WOO-HOOing.