[Question #1816] Hiv and alopecia areata

45 months ago
Hi dr

About 5 weeks ago I got pricked by needle that was left in a chair, I'm getting a test done next week! About 2 weeks ago I got a headache for a day then a cold for a week to 2 weeks ! there was no rash or sore throat just a cold, and a couple of days ago I got a small patch of no hair by my chin which looks like alopecia areata! My question is could the alopecia areata be a cause of hiv? And the headache and cold be sero conversion? Just really worried!
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
45 months ago
Welcome to our Forum.  We receive a surprising number of questions from clients who are worried that they may have caught HIV or hepatitis from possible needle sticks encountered when they sat in a chair.  Despite the frequency of the question, I have never seen or heard of a person who acquired infection in this way....not ever!

The symptoms you describe are not symptoms suggestive of recently acquired HIV and I am not aware of any association between alopecia areata and HIV.

Had you asked if you needed testing for HIV or hepatitis, I probably would have said no.  I anticipate that your tests for HIV and hepatitis will be negative.  EWH
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45 months ago
They said to get tested to make sure! With the  alopecia areata I looked on line and it comes up with things about the immune system and I panicked because I wondered if I got infected my immune system would change things! I just wondered if I'm worrying over nothing or if I was infected this would happen?
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
45 months ago
Thanks for the clarification.  Testing to be sure is certainly reasonable.  I would not worryowever.

While alopecia areata may have its origins in disorders of personal immunity, it has tot been described as being associated as a sign of HIV.  I would not worry.  EWH
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45 months ago
Ok thanks Dr how about the symptoms I had would the symptoms be more severe than a headache for a day then a cold? And I thought being pricked by a needle would be a high risk as they say drug/needle sharers are high risk?
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
45 months ago

Absolutely, the symptoms of the ARS which occurs in some persons around the time (2-4 weeks after exposure) they have acquired HIV include high fever, sore throat, muscle and joint aches as well as diarrhea and a skin rash in some persons.  Cough, runny nose and other cold symptoms are not part of the ARS. 

Risk is relative.  You have not described your exposure in detail so I cannot comment but while drug users are at RELATIVELY high risk for HIV, most drug users do not have HIV and most needle sticks from needles contaminated by HIV infected drug users do not lead to infection.  In your case you apparently do not know who (if anyone) had used the needle in the past.  Further, the HIV virus dies when outside the body lowering your risk for infection still more.  I would not be as worried as you appear to be.

This is my third reply to your questions.  Therefore, as outlines in our guidelines, there will be no further answers and this thread will be closed later today.  Repetitive and anxiety driven questions may be deleted without comment.  EWH

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