[Question #2995] Scared...Please help

39 months ago
Hi Doctors...  so I am beyond terrified right now.   20 days ago I engaged in unprotective vaginal sex with a man that I do not know his HIV status.   It was no more than 1 minute long and he did not ejaculate in me.  He is an African American man who I don't believe is bisexual, is married but he does cocaine and I think sleeps around.. it was so stupid..  about 12 days after I got a headache, sore throat, tired, body aches and a slight dry cough.  I also keep thinking I have a rash although nobody else sees it.  I don't have a fever.  I am going crazy with worry.  What are my chances this is ARS and I have HIV.. I did go to the clinic to get STD tests which included an HIV blood test.  I know it's not accurate and I have not received the results..  I love in Pittsburgh and this one lives in the city as well..   I am so scared that I can't eat or sleep.. 


Please help!  
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
39 months ago
Welcome to our Forum.  I'll try to help.  Your risk for acquiring HIV from a single exposure is low- about 1 infection per every 1000-2000 sex acts.  Further. less than 1% of American men have HIV.  Admittedly the rate is slightly higher than average among African-American me but still quite low even with his possibly risky life-style.  Your symptoms have some of the characteristics of recently acquired HIV (sore throat, muscle aches, possible rash) but lack the fever that is typically part of the signs and symptoms of recently acquired HIV.   Further, I can tell you with confidence that if your test for HIV was a combination HIV antigen/antibody (so-called 4th generation) test and is negative, then you can be confident that your symptoms are not due to HIV because when persons have these sorts of symptoms from HIV these tests are always positive.   Finally, when at-risk persons with flu-like illnesses such as yours have been studied less than 1% of such persons turn out to have HIV.  The rest have far more common viral infections of the sort that most people get from time to time. 

I hope these facts are helpful to you.  I realize that you will continue to worry until your test results are available but the odds are very, very much in your favor.  Please try not to worry.  EWH . 
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39 months ago
Hi Doctor... 

I am so scared.. what are my odds that I have HIV?    Is it common to have ARS without a fever?  What does a rash with ARS look like?  Could it be dry facial skin ?  I am so worried because I read that African Americans are higher in HIV rates.  My test was at 14 days.  Would it even be accurate? 

My ARS symptoms started at 10 days with a headache then sore throats and cough then a see my face is red..   does this sound like ARS? 


Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
39 months ago
You odds of having acquired HIV are very low on a statistical basis, somewhere less than 1 in a million I would think, given what you have told me.

ARS without fever is very rare, if not unheard of.   The rash is non-descript. I really do not think you have ARS.

As I said, if this were ARS and you were tested while symptomatic, the test would be positive.  EWH
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39 months ago
Thank you!!!  

One more question.. I was doing some reading tonight and I read that if this person was just newly exposed to the virus then it could be passed on quickly to me.. what are the statistics if my unprotected encounter was newly infected?  Would I automatically get HIV myself? 

I appreciate all your replies back! 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
39 months ago
There are not precise figures to allow me to give you a numerical answer to your question but you are correct, recently infected persons (within the first month or two of becoming infected) are more infectious to sex partners than persons who have been infected for longer periods.  Despite that, no one get's infected "automatically.  Even then your risk for infection would be less than 1%.  EWH
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39 months ago
Hi Dr.  Hook, 

I just got my test results back.. it was negative for everything including HIV.   This test was taken at 2 weeks though at our local clinic.. how accurate is this and do you think I need another test for HIV due to my symptoms?  

This will be my last question.. promise 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
39 months ago
Your test results show that your symptoms were not due to HIV.  you can be quite confident of this.  These results however do not rule out the (tiny) possibility that you acquired HIV.  While I am confident that this is the case, the way to absolutely prove this is to have another HIV test six weeks after the exposure.  s I said above, I am confident that if you do this, the test will be negative as well.

This concludes this thread which will be closed a little later today.  Take care.  EWH
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