Question

Doc,

I had a "grinding" encounter with a woman 1.5 years ago. Recently, I seem to be having floaters and burning sensations in my feet (during day... no problems at night). I also seem to have a generalized achy feeling without being able to pinpoint where. Sinuses seem to be burning frequently as well.

Everything I've read says that hiv has not been known to transmit this way (at least there are no known cases). Are the docs wrong? I've always been pretty healthy but all these symptoms have me worried.

Please help... thanks.

Answer

Trying to determine your HIV status based on symptoms you are experiencing is unwise, anxiety provoking, and unreliable. Recent HIV infection (acute HIV infection, acute retroviral syndrome) should only be considered if ALL of the following are true:

  1. You had unprotected vaginal or anal sex (inserting or receiving a penis without a condom) within the past three months.

  2. Your partner was known to be HIV infected, or is a person who is in a "high-risk" category (a man who has sex with men, an injection drug user, or a person who has sexual contact with others in an area of high HIV incidence or prevalence, like sub-Saharan Africa).

  3. Your symptoms are indicative of acute HIV infection (febrile illness, sometimes compared to flu or mono). The specific symptoms can vary from person to person, but acute infection most often manifests in this "flu-like" manner.

If all of the above are true for you, see a doctor to have your symptoms evaluated. If all of the above are not true (which sounds to be the case for you since grinding is not associated with HIV transmission), you should still have your symptoms evaluated by a doctor, but it is not likely that they are related to HIV infection.

RMK