[Question #3007] So Worried...

41 months ago
Hi Doctors... 

It's me again.. I asked a question a few days back about a high risk exposure which was unprotected vaginal sex which lasted for about 1 minute without ejaculation..  it has now been 24 days since my exposure and I'm pretty sure I have HIV..  it started at day 11 with headaches and mild sore throat.. then by 5 days later I had muscle aches and pain and fatigue.. then now I have a sore throat, and I can feel my lymph nodes are swollen and by my elbow and behind my knees too..  I had STD tests done at the clinic at 14 days exposure which came back as negative.  

I just don't know how much more I can take of this worry... I am so scared I contracted HIV.. what should I do?!? 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
41 months ago
Welcome back, but sorry you found it necessary after the reassuring replies you had from Dr. Hook. I agree with all he said. Your negative blood test at 2 weeks after exposure, and a few days after onset of symptoms, is strong evidence your symptoms are not due to HIV. HIV symptoms rarely if ever occur unless antibody is present and the blood test positive. And statistically it is unlikely your partner had HIV.

As for test reliability, which you asked about last time, no worries: all clicks and labs have access to and routinely use the same HIV blood tests. Test reliability does not vary from one place to the next.

To be certain, of course you should have follow up testing, preferably an antigen-antibody (combo, duo) test in another couple of weeks: these tests are usually conclusive at 4 weeks and always by 6 weeks. In the meantime, consider contacting your partner and asking if he has HIV. People rarely lie when asked directly, and you should find it reassuring when he says no.

I’ll be happy to comment again when you have another test at least 4 weeks after exposure. But not much point until then; there is no information you can provide, or other thoughts that come to your mind, that are like to change our opinions and advice. But stay mellow in the meantime: I am very confident you don’t have HIV.

Best wishes — HHH, MD
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41 months ago
Hi Doctor H. 

First, thank you for your reply..  I do have some follow up questions.  

1.  Regarding ARS...  what if I was wrong about when it started and the rest could not determine my symptoms.. right now I feel like all the glands in my body are swollen.. would this happen without a fever? 

2.   I did ask the guy about his status.. in fact I asked him so many times he refuses to speak to me.. he said he was clean but seems like he may have never tested although he said he did last year.  I don't believe him.  

3.  How possible is it to get HIV from a one minute exposure without ejaculation?  

I'm scared and right now I feel so lousy that I'm convinced I have HIV.  
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
41 months ago
As I said above, "...there is no information you can provide, or other thoughts that come to your mind, that are like to change our opinions and advice."

1) Doesn't matter. Your negative test shows your symptoms are not ARS. Don't overthink it.

2) Obviously he doesn't have HIV. Believe him (and stop bugging him).

3) Complete unprotected sex (several minutes with ejaculation) around 1 chance in a thousand. Much lower given brief exposure and no ejaculation.

Really, settle down. You came here for reassurance and you have had it, in strong terms, from both me and Dr. Hook. But you keep arguing and worrying -- it's as if you want to prove us wrong by making us agree you might have HIV. Do not post anything else until you have been retested. At that time, you will have an opportunity for a single comment and reply, after which you will be cut off from any further questions (even new threads with payment) about this exposure, your symptoms, etc. Repetative anxiety driven quesitons are not permitted.
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41 months ago
Hi Doctor.  

Please don't get upset with me... I'm a mom of two girls and I'm so scared.. I have swollen lymph nodes and my neck is stiff and my muscles ache.  This has been going on now for 6 days..  can you please just tell me if I was wrong in my original post of when my symptoms started if this how could be ARS symptoms? 

I don't know what to do and I'm terrified to take another test.  

Please help! 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
41 months ago
Since you are so concerned about your symptoms, you should see a doctor about them. For all the reasons above, it is unlikely they are due to HIV, but you can assume your doctor will recommend you have another HIV test 4-6 weeks after the exposure.

You know that not testing for fear of the result is irrational. And whenever someone delays testing for fear of the result, anxiety declines after the test is finally done, even if positive. Having a clear answer is always less stressful than the worry ahead of time. (Not only for HIV testing -- same deal with things like mammography, pap smears, colonscopy, or other tests to detect deadly health problems.) So suck it up and just do it. But see your doctor first.

Do not post anything else on this thread until and unless you report your next HIV test result. If you do, the thread will be closed. And since repeated anxiety driven questions are not allowed, you are not permitted to start a new thread with these same questions. It would be deleted without reply and without refund of the posting fee.
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41 months ago
Hi Doctor.. 

First let me apologize for my anxiety driven questions and posts.. I appreciate all your expert advice and reassurances and I apologize again.  My anxiety got the best of me.  

I went and tested at 29 days post exposure and it was negative.   They said it was 99.4 percent accurate.  

Just wanted to update you and say thank you.

Warm wishes 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
41 months ago
I'm glad to hear of the negative result -- but of course not surprised! It's really 100% accurate; the official sensitivity (as approved by US Food and Drug Administration) may be 99.4%, but the test actually is better than that. Ignore any more "what if" or "yes but" questions that may come to mind, and no more online searching about all this! There is no additional information you can provide, or concerns that will come to mind, that would change our opinions or advice.

Thanks for the thanks about our services. I'm glad to have helped. Take care--  HHH, MD

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