Neuropathy during seroconversion, false negative?

Question

Hi Dr. Bob, Please answer, I'm terrified! I had unprotected vaginal intercourse on Dec 19, 2008 with a partner of unknown status. Two weeks later developed weakness, weight loss and just felt horrible. I got better but couldn't gain the weight back. In March 2008 started having tingling and burning pain in my arms, hands, legs, feet, face and trunk and night sweats. I went back to the doctor on May 1, 2008 who did the following: HIV 1/0/2 Abs - ICMA HIV 1/0/2 Abs, Qual Non-Reactive. She also did Sed rate, ANA, CBC, B12 all within normal range. My questions are could the neuropathy I have now be seroconversion and my results be false negative (test was at 17 weeks)? Would the SED rate and ANA still be normal if I had HIV? Could being infected with another STD delay seroconversion? Please help, I have no where else to turn.

Thank you and I will be donating to your fund.

Answer

Hello,

You had sex December 19, 2008??? Hmm . . . so I assume you're a "Back to the Future" kind of guy, eh? Well, let's assume you had sex December 19, 2007 instead, OK? That you had unprotected sex does place you at some degree of risk for STDs, including HIV. However, your negative (non-reactive) HIV test results 17 weeks after your potential exposure is definitive. HIV is not your problem.

Regarding your "neuropathy," I would suggest you have an evaluation by a neurologist to ascertain if indeed the symptoms you are experiencing are caused by neuropathy or something else. Anxiety, for instance, can induce similar symptoms.

Sed rate and ANA are not related to HIV. Your doctor probably ordered these tests to evaluate the tingling in your extremities.

Thank you for your donation to the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org).

Congratulations on dodging the HIV bullet. WOO-HOO! And although I'm confident you've already learned this lesson, don't forget to cover your stump before you hump!

Dr. Bob