Test results/symptoms/fear


Dear Dr. Bob,

I am trying to reach a logical conclusion about my test results in the face o my symptoms and sex acts.

You have been enormously helpful to me as I have poured over your site and have learned a lot. You provide a great service.

I had protected oral sex, both insertive and receptive with transsexuals whose status I am going to assume was positive although I have no proof of such. There was no ejaculation during these acts. I also engaged in deep kissing. And ejaculate was spilled on my body but not over any cuts that I am aware of... I understand these acts would appear to put me at low risk. However, without knowing about ARS, two weeks after my last encounter I developed a wet cough that lasted 40 days; and a strange numbness, almost burning sensation in the back of my neck and back. At one point after being in the sun I developed a heat rash on my chest that looked like blisters were forming. That went away within a few hours but the burning in my back and now shoulders remains.

Needless to say, as I began experiencing the cough and burning, I started researching and got very worried. I had written to you before and mentioned that I had tests done at six and eight weeks that came up negative. I also had an RNA test at 7 weeks that was "undetectable". You told me that my results were encouraging but not definitive (I had not told you about my sex acts), and to get tested at 12 weeks... I did get tested at 9 weeks and 11 weeeks-- both tests were negative.

While feeling relief from these tests I also discovered I had a rash on my penis which was determined to be "lychen planus". So, here I am trying to accept what would appear to be a negative result but having experienced symptoms I have never had before. Two doctors and my reading of this and other sites convinced me it was anxiety related... Now here's the kicker. About two weeks ago, while masturbating, I experienced excruciating pain in the back of my neck right before climax. It slowly subsided, scared the heck out of me and I tried to somehow forget about it. Three days later, it happened again and a dull pain in my head continued for a few days. I went to an ER to have a cat scan which came out negative...Does this sound like anything remotely associated with HIV?

Is it possible for all of these things to be related to HIV but somehow I have not shown up positive and will on my next test? It is now almost two weeks since my 11 week negative test.

Is what I am feeling in my back peripheal neuropathy, and coincidentally a function of something other than HIV? And if it is, will it subside as do other ARS symptoms?

I know you get thousands of e-mails. If you could take a moment to answer my questions, I would be very grateful. Thank you.

Extremely Anxiety Ridden Guy


Hello Extremely Anxiety Ridden Guy,

I agree you are indeed an "extremely anxiety ridden guy!" Join the crowd! Just check the archives and you'll find loads of other "EARGs" (extremely anxiety ridden guys and gals).

Your HIV risk is essentially nonexistent, assuming the latex condoms were used properly and did not fail.

Your symptoms are not worrisome for or suggestive of HIV ARS.

Your repeatedly negative HIV-antibody tests out to 11 weeks plus your undetectable HIV PCR RNA at seven weeks are beyond encouraging! I can't diagnose the exact cause of your symptoms over the Internet, but I can advise you they are not HIV related! Your definitive three-month HIV-antibody test will undoubtedly be negative. Like so many other EARGs waiting for the definitive (and "undoubtedly negative") HIV test results, you should stop worrying and start practicing your WOO-HOO!

Good luck.

Dr. Bob