[Question #1898] Please help! HIV symptoms, test negative after 8 weeks!

77 months ago
I'm 25 yrs old male and I would really appreciate some advice or help for my issue. 
I had high risk activity (unprotected sex) 9-10 weeks ago. I don't know status of the person I had sex with, but she claims that she's healthy. After some time I've noticed some symptoms that are unfortunately very similar to HIV symptoms: My eyes are burning sometimes, they are red for the good part of the day, fatigue I felt for one week, white tongue, sore throat, things like that. I've noticed some kind of a rash on my lower back side, some on my legs (I'm not sure if those on the legs were there before). 
I took 3 tests for HIV, all of them were negative. 
4 weeks after activity – HIV1/2 Antibodies only – NEGATIVE 
On the 5th week I found out that I have Candida on my tongue and soft palate (I have few tiny lesions on the soft palate). Since few days before that I've got some strong antibiotic for my throat which looked inflamed to my doctor, maybe Candida appeared as a result of it, I'm not sure. 
6 weeks after – HIV COMBO (4TH GEN) AG/AB – NON REACTIVE 
8 weeks after - HIV COMBO (4TH GEN) AG/AB – NON REACTIVE 
From week 6/7 I saw that lymph nodes on my neck and under the jaw are swollen a bit, and from few days ago my my neck is a bit swollen too. 
I'm really stressed whole this time, I'm eating less than usual, I assume that's the some kind of reason why I've lost 8 pounds for this time. 
I'm terrified, and what terrifies the most that I'm seeing that my wife has red eyes too, and for me it looks like her lymph nodes are bit swollen (I can't confirm that for 100%), and tired a bit. 
I tested on other STD's too, I'm negative for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea (urethral smear), Hepatitis B and C, and I'm waiting for my results for Syphilis. 
Is it possible that my tests are false negative, since I read that these 4TH Gen tests can be good indicator of infection from 4-6 weeks and later and I took two of them, 6&8 weeks after? 
I understand that I'm really stressed, but these symptoms are making me so depressed that I just can't relax even after negative results I received last week. Thanks in advance! 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
77 months ago
Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your confidence in our services.

First, of course you should have used a condom -- but I probably don't need to tell you that now! But perhaps this will be a teachable moment for you. However, this exposure was low risk for HIV depsite being unprotected. It seems very unlikely your partner had HIV. And even if she did, the odds were strongly in your favor:  the average chance of HIV transmission during a single vaginal sex exposure, female to male, is around once for ever 2,000 events.

Further, the symptoms of acute HIV infection are very nonspecific. In medical/diagnostic terminology, that means the identical symptoms occur in many disorders, most of which are minor. Even though some of the symptoms you report can occur with HIV, they really are not very suggestive that you were infected. These really are day to day symptoms of trivial viral infections, minor changes in sleep patterns, nutrition, and other day to day minor events. When acute HIV causes symptoms at all, the typical picture is sore throat, swollen lymph nodes all over the body, fever, and non-itchy skin rash -- all starting10-15 days after exposure. I will also say that self-diagnosis of "candida on my tongue and loft palate" is exceedingly unreliable, even with professional exam and certainly by self exam by a medical nonprofessional. Anyway, oral candida is not one of the usual signs of early HIV.

But most important of all, the HIV blood tests are among the most accurate diagnostic tests ever developed, for any medical condition. The combo (4th gen, antigen-antibody) tests are 100% conclusive any time more than 4 weeks after exposure. False negative results do not occur, and the results always overrule exposure history, no matter how high the risk, and symptoms, no matter how tpical for HIV. Your results prove without doubt that you do not have HIV.

So you definitely can relax about HIV. And I'm equally confident about viral hepatitis and syphilis; your syphilis blood test also will be negative.

I'm quite confident your symptoms are not due to any infection at all from the sexual exposure you are concerned about. If some of your symptoms are related to that event, they probably reflect anxiety about the event. If they continue or you remain concerned, keep working with your doctors. But I'm confident there is no medical explanation related to the sexual exposure.

I hope this information has been helpful. Let me know if anything isn't clear. Best wishes and stay safe--


77 months ago

Hi doctor, thanks for your reply!

About my symptoms – I still do have sore throat, swollen lymph nodes and swollen neck (that started appearing at week 6/7), when I checked them under my arms, they’re a bit swollen there too, and about my Candida –I had professional examination of it and analyses from week 5 after exposure that approves I have it on my tongue and soft palate (25% of it is found on my tongue and soft palate). I’m concerned about my eyes too, since they’re red occasionally, burning, sometimes they look like I have some type of conjunctivitis.


I’m concerned about my wife mostly, since I’m seeing that change in her eyes too, some rash on her chest which don’t itch, her neck looks bit swollen too.


Are these red & burning eyes related to HIV, or other STD? Or other symptoms, can they be related to other STD’s? Maybe I’m looking at the wrong infection, or I’m just too nervous since I’m reading a lot of articles on the internet?


Swollen nodes and Candida, irritated soft palate (red bumps on it) appeared 5 weeks after the contact, wouldn’t they start appearing earlier as a HIV signs if they were related to it? Or should the test at week 6&8 already detect the HIV if those symptoms were related to it?


Since I had some tiny blisters around the mouth for some time (and I can see my wife is having some of those arroung the mouth and nose), could all of this could be related to some other bacteria or infection I picked up due oral sex, and activities from that night I was exposed?


I have strong faith and I believe in everything you mentioned about testing and other things, that’s the reason why I asked some things here, I read a lot about your great work doctor! Thanks, and I hope you’ll find some time to reply on my questions I mentioned.


H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
77 months ago
Thanks for your kind comments about our services. Thanks also for the additional information. However, it does not change my assessment and advice. Whether or not your symptoms are due to some sort of infection or inflammatory process, for sure it isn't HIV. And no other STD causes any of these symptoms. There is no point in additional testing for HIV or other STDs. As for your eyeball assesment of your wife, these sound like the sorts of things noticed with increased attention due to anxiety. If she has no complaints about a "change" in her eyes, swollen neck, or rash, then almost certainly nothing is wrong. If you are convinced otherwise, you are morally obligated to tell her about it and that you are concerned for her health (which you can do without any need to mention your sexual indiscretion or your own symtoms).

77 months ago
Dear doctor, thank you so much for your advices and all the other things you mentioned, this helped a lot! 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
77 months ago
Thanks for the thanks. I'm glad to have helped.---