[Question #1757] Do my symptoms suggest HIV? Please help

44 months ago
I am an Indian national working in Kuwait. Early December I visited london and had sex with a CSW, where the condom might have slipped as the condom was hanging outside of her vagina and the semen was inside the condom, after i withdrew. Exactly 4 days after this i had severe sore throat, runny stuffy nose and a lot of mucus and phlegm a general feeling of malaise and a little feverish, no distinct high fever. After the sore throat and runny nose cleared away and felt good for 2-3 days, I started having pain starting from my left elbow, then my left side of neck and then left groin, and then all over my body for about a week, the body pain felt quite severe something which I didnt experience before in my life. My urine turned bright yellow even though I was drinking enough water. 4 nights of night sweats one being drenching wet. Once the severe muscle pain subsided, I started having severe muscle twitching and spasm all over my body which is still going on today, especially before i go to bed, and random pain in my fingers and toes at all time now. I had a ray of hope as I had no swollen lymph node till date, but today I woke up with a single swollen node behind my left ear. I sometimes had stiff neck, few sores on my tongue, one cold sore on my lip. At this point I am pretty much certain I have HIV. I work in a middle east country and if I am positive for HIV they might jail me, or atleast deport me. I plan to visit India in late april when I will get a HIV test, till then I cant stop worrying. I have contracted the CSW few days back and she has assured me that she gets tested every 3 months, and the last test was just 3 weeks ago, she said this 2 months after our encounter. I have pretended to call her as a new client and told her will pay extra for sex without condom, she blatantly refused and even refuses to give oral without condom. My fear is even though But she might be lying about the hiv testings as she didnt seem to have the basic ideas about hiv test.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
44 months ago

Welcome to our Forum.  I'll try to help.  From what you say, your risk for HIV is very, very low.  You have spoken with your CSW partner who has indicated that she regularly uses condoms for sex and who has told you about getting checked for HIV.  Most people do tell the truth when asked about such things directly.  In addition, you used a condom and even when condoms slip off as the man removes himself from a partner, the condom has typically done its job, protecting against HIV and other STIs.

From your post  it sounds as though your fear of having gotten HIV is in large part related to your flu-like illness soon after your exposure.  No doubt you have learned that the ARS which is a sign of recent HIV infection is a flu-like illness with many of the characteristics you describe- muscle aches, sore throat, feverish feelings, etc.  This is true.  What is often missed however is that when persons with such symptoms are checked for HIV, about 99% of those at risk for HIV actually do not have HIV but have some sort of illness (often non-STI viral illnesses) of the sort that many people acquire, particularly when they have recently traveled as you did.  Further, the ARS does not cause a runny nose and swollen lymph nodes are entirely non-specific.

If you could, I would urge you to get an HIV test sooner than later to prove to yourself that you did not get HIV.  Your exposure was very low risk and the chance that you acquired HIV is very, very low (I would estimate as being a less than 1 in 100,000 chance, at least).  When you are tested, believe the result since at this time the results of virtually all HIV tests would be definitive.  

I hope these comments are helpful to you.  EWH 

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44 months ago
I want to get tested as soon as i can but because of where i work and the circumstances that i face here, i will not be able to leave until end of april. Testing here is not a good idea, as nothing is anonymous or private here. The csw is 23 years old and looks quite healthy. Also i don't know when my condom slipped, might have slipped before withdrawal and i could have been exposed to her vagina, but the intercourse was not more than 2mins. I was wondering about few of my symptoms that i am facing right now, all over body muscle vibrating at all times. Bone pain in hands and feet. Feeling tired almost all time. Having painful sores quite often on tongue and inner lips, and now a big lymph node. I was an extremely healthy individual before who had aboslutely no health concern what so ever. I had flu like once in like 5 years, never ever had any body pain. And now i have muscle spasm, finger and joint pain, sores in my mouth and tongue all the time for the last two and half month. Do these symptoms sound like someone who has hiv for around 3 months. I really wish i could go to my home country now and get tested, but i can't leave Kuwait until late april. Please comment on these symptoms. Thank you very much for your feedback.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
44 months ago

the symptoms you describe are not typical of recently acquired HIV.  Your muscle vibrations are not suggestive of HIV, nor is your continuing fatigue.  On the other hand, both of these symptoms could well be due to anxiety.  Bone pain has never been associated with HIV either. 

I suspect the lymph node swelling you describe is a reaction to the sores on your lips and tongue, neither of which suggests HIV. 

Again, when you get tested, I am confident the test will show that you did not get HIV.  EWH

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44 months ago
Thanks a lot for your feedback once again. When you are asking me to get tested as soon as possible, is it because of a medical urgency or because of my psychological peace? If by any chance you found yourself in my shoe, would you have tested urgently? I say this to know if I should just quit my high paying engineering job and go back home to just get tested? I am concerned, as in the 30ish years i have been alive I have never felt so physically ill 24/7. I have visited a local doctor to whom I didnt disclose my encounter, he saw and detected my lymph node and thinks its might be a minor viral infection my body is fighting. Also many places online, muscle twitching is enlisted as post viral syndrome. All these makes me think that the deadly hiv virus is living inside me. I am an educated guy with engineering degree from a reputed north American university, coming from a well to do upper middle class, conservative family. I do not know how i will tell my family if I do end up being positive. My muscle pain was so bad that i recall crying in pain, which i being an adult man never do. And I never do such a thing. Also, by any chance if I do test in late april or early may and i do turn out to be positive, will the virus have done too much damage to my body in six months? Can i please request you to keep this thread open till I get tested and and post a result? I promise I will not post here till then. I thank you for your feedback, your answer has calmed me down.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
44 months ago

Your follow-up question is repetitive.  As I said above, I recommended testing so that you could achieve psychological peace, not because I expected that you would find that you have HIV.  I anticipate that when you test the result will be negative, proving that you did not get HIV from the exposure you described.  Your test will be negative when you test.

In the meantime, I urge you to stop reading about HIV on the internet.  The things you read there are quite often wrong or taken out of context.

Thisis the third response to your questions. This thread will be closed administratively later today.  EWH

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44 months ago
Dear doctor, can i post my result in a separate thread once i get tested?
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
44 months ago
I cannot promise that the thread will be kept open.  We will try.  EWH
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