[Question #1029] Worried.

52 months ago
I would like to thank you in advance for thoroughly answering my questions and addressing my concerns. I respect and trust every single doctor on this website, completely. Thank you for your guys' services!

I am a returning customer, and will briefly explain my current situation. About four weeks ago I was sexually assaulted. I do not know anything about the person, including his sexual history. His status of STD's are unknown to me. Whether a condom was used or not is still unclear to me because I was not conscious during the assault. 

I noticed this morning that I woke up with a scratchy throat- I do not have a fever or any other flu-like symptoms. Stupidly, I googled window period for HIV symptoms which is the worst thing I could have done. I need to stay away from Web MD. Anyway, I am concerned that I am experiencing hiv symptoms. Two of my friends have strep throat, one of which I hung out with over the weekend, though she was not sick during the time period when we hung out. In addition, I have not been sleeping well because I broke my wrist and had surgery performed on me last week to fix the broken bone. I did not get much sleep this morning, maybe two hours, if that. As the day went on I started to get a scratchy throat. Other than that, I do not have any other symptoms yet- no swollen lymph nodes or fever. I do feel fatigued all the time, but I'm wondering if that's because I don't sleep at night, but rather during the day. I read on Web MD that hiv symptoms present anywhere from 2-6 weeks, which is why i'm really worried now. I plan on getting tested tomorrow for all STD's through blood work.

Questions:
1. Does this sound like hiv symptoms?
2. Should I be worried?
3. Typically, when do hiv symptoms present after intercourse?
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
52 months ago

I remember our prior interaction and understand how you are going to be especially alert to possible symptoms.  The internet has a way of raising concerns related to development of symptoms of HIV and other  STIs.  A solitary scratchy throat is NOT a sign of recently acquired HIV.  A sore throat, in combination with what some call the "worst flu of their lives", high fevers, muscle and joint aches  sometimes a rash or diarrhea along with a sore throat constitute the so called ARS which can be present in some persons who have recently acquired HIV but none of these symptoms alone should raise concern.  I would add that a sore throat is a common side effect of medications often given to persons who have undergone surgery and your sore throat may be related to this.

If your sore throat were due to HIV a 4th generation, combination HIV antigen/antibody test of the sort that is currently widely used for HIV blood tests would be positive.  further these tests are essentially 100% sensitive for detection of HIV when performed four or more weeks after an exposure.  Thus, if your test is now negative, you can be confident that your assailant did not give you HIV.  thus in answer to your specific questions:

1. Does this sound like hiv symptoms?
No

2. Should I be worried?
No

3. Typically, when do hiv symptoms present after intercourse?
The ARS classically occurs about two weeks after acquisition of HIV and very rarely at fouor weeks.

I hope this information is helpful to you.  EWH
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51 months ago
Okay, I am in the process of being tested through blood work, so now I am waiting for my results which should be back next week. I am so nervous awaiting my results.

Your information makes me a feel a little better. Sometimes I don't know if I had a fever or not because I never took my temperature and feel fatigued all the time, but I don't recall feeling flu-like symptoms. I know the flu wipes me out and I didn't feel like that. Plus, as you've stated, it would be rare to begin getting symptoms four weeks after the incident. 

Before the incident, I was tested for all STD's through blood work and everything came back negative. However, I do have hsv 1 orally. It's been 4 weeks and. I've been noticing some itchiness around my vagina/butt area and it's scaring me. 

Questions:
1. Should I be worried that herpes symptoms are presenting 4 weeks later?

I did not experience any herpes symptoms during the general window period of symptoms (10-14 days). 

2. I shouldn't be worried about experiencing HIV symptoms four weeks after the incident, correct?
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
51 months ago
1. Should I be worried that herpes symptoms are presenting 4 weeks later?  I did not experience any herpes symptoms during the general window period of symptoms (10-14 days).

Four weeks would be quite unusual for the appearance of herpes.  Most persons who acquire herpes and develop lesions do so within 14 days of exposure and virtually everyone does so by the time three weeks have passed. 

2. I shouldn't be worried about experiencing HIV symptoms four weeks after the incident, correct?

Correct, like herpes, symptoms of HIV, were they to occur, within 10-15 days of exposure with almost none occurring after 4 weeks.  I remain confident that your tests will be negative.  Please feel free to share the news with us when you get your results.  EWH
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