[Question #5986] Symptom Assessment

19 months ago

Hello I posted a while ago but I just wanted an assessment of my symptoms to see if they could be associated with ARS in any way. They were two or three incidents of diarrhea as well as two instances where I woke up in the middle of the night very sweaty like soaked. I don’t think these two coincided as in occurred on the same days but they were in the same week as long as coming and going instances of thigh and arm pain. I didn’t have a fever as far as I know and no sore throat or rash while these symptoms were happening. Recently I’ll feel sick at night and in the morning but just a stuffiness and dry cough. Yesterday and today I noticed what I believe to be swollen lymph nodes on my groin area. They’re very small and I really only feel them on my right side. Around pea sized if not a little smaller. Almost like teardrops if that makes sense. I’ve also noticed thrush but I took prednisone for 4 days twice a day a little less than two weeks ago so I hope it’s just because of that. My risk was brief unprotected penetration with a very sexually active man. I already got my blood drawn today and am waiting on results. Are my symptoms closely aligned with those of ARS?

H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
19 months ago
Welcome back, but I'm sorry you found it necessary to return yet again. (I was logged in when your question arrived:  most users should not expect nearly real-time replies!) I reviewed the detailed responses you had in two discussions with Dr. Hook and agree with all he said.

You continue to look at meaningless details and fail to see the big picture as Dr. Hook descrbied it. It is exceedingly unlikely you have HIV. However, I also agree with the most important part of his advice, that you be tested for HIV, and I'm glad to hear that apparently has been done. It is pointless to be asking such questions about symptoms when you'll have the answer very soon. As Dr. Hook said, if your symptoms are due to HIV, an antigen-antibody (AgAb, "duo", "4th generation") blood test will be positive; if negative, it will prove something else is the cause. (Don't confuse time to truly conclusive test results with association of testing with symptoms. Once in a while it takes 6 weeks for a positive AgAb test result. But that test always is positive in people with ARS symptoms more than a few days in duration.)

I'll be happy to comment further when you report the blood test results, but will have nothing more to say until then. In the meantime, perhaps it will help you to know that in the 14+ years I have been doing this and a previous forum (with Dr. Hook for almost 10 years), with thousands of questions about potential HIV exposures and/or symptoms, not one person turned out to have caught HIV. It is exceedingly unlkely you will be the first! So try to relax. Let me know your test result, and we'll take it from there. OK?

HHH, MD
---
19 months ago
Yes and thank you for your reply but I was just wondering if my symptoms and their pattern are closely aligned with those of ARS. Right now I only feel the swollen lymph nodes on my groin but again they feel small and tear drop shaped and I’m not exactly sure if a swollen lymph node would be larger or perhaps visible. But if all those symptoms didn’t occur at the same time that would be a good sign it’s not ARS correct?
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
19 months ago
No, your symptoms are not typical for ARS. Small lumps only in the groin are probably not abnormal at all and certainly do not fit with ARS. 

No more comments at all until and unless you report your test result. Whatever additional comment you post, it will be your last on this thread; and because of the rule against repeated anxiety driven posts, this is going to be the last one the forum will accept. Don't blow your last chance on a question and reply that won't help you. OK? Thanks for your understanding. In the meantime, do your best to relax. Have a glass of wine (or maybe a stiff vodka & tonic), look yourself in the mirror, and repeat 10 times "I don't have HIV." Then get a good night's rest. (Im not trying to be condescending, only reassuring -- and a little bit cute.)
---
18 months ago
Hello I got partial results only but they say non reactive so I’m assuming it’s non reactive? The 4th gen with reflux to confirmation was the only test I took so if the antibody test was non reactive I don’t know why they wouldn’t post a final result as well but I’m assuming they wouldn’t post a partial result as non reactive if the test weren’t actually non reactive. Anyways I took the test 23 days after exposure. So that would mean the symptoms such as the swollen tonsil, night sweats, muscle pain, and diarrhea from almost ten days before would have nothing to do with ARS I assume. But if I had felt what I perceive to be swollen lymph nodes and thrush on my tongue a day or two before getting my blood drawn and those WERE caused by ars would the test have shown as reactive by then? Again I did take prednisone two weeks before the thrush appearance so I’m not sure what caused it. I know 23 days isn’t conclusive but it should be reassuring at least correct? Would you recommend testing at 6 weeks or would 3 months with oraquick be fine considering the risk of my exposure? Take you for all your help again. 
18 months ago
Also the prednisone wouldn’t affect the test correct? Or antibody production? 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
18 months ago
There are no medications, medical conditions, or medical procedures that affect the reliability of any HIV test. It used to be said that potent chemotherapy or immunosuppressive drugs might impair or delay antibody production and reliability of antibody-only blood tests. This was rare if it ever occurred -- there are a very few reliable reports of such events. And in all of those, other tests were positive. With the current blood tests, including the ones you have, there simply are no such problems. Your test results indeed improve that something other than HIV is the cause of your symptoms. 

Oral yeast infectsion (thrush) is not something anyone can detect without lab testing. White coated tongue, for example, isn't thrush. Almost certainly you have not had an oral yeast infection. But even if you did, your test results is valid.

In summary, yes -- your current test results should be very reasuring. Almost certainly you do not have HIV. Have a final, conclusive AgAb blood test 6 weeks after the exposure you are concerned about. It will be negative, so stay relaxed in the meantime. If you remain fearful, go back and carefully re-read all the responses from both me and Dr. Hook.

That concludes this thread. Please do not be tempted to return with another question about this exposure, symptoms, your concerns about HIV, or your future negative test result(s). The forum does not permit repeated questions on the same topic or exposure. This being your third, future new questions along these lines will be deleted without reply and without refund of the posting fee. This policy is based on compassion, not criticism, and is designed to reduce temptations to keep paying for questions with obvious answers. In addition, experience shows that continued answers tend to prolong users' anxieties rather than reducing them. Finally, such questions have little educational value for other users, one of the forum's main purposes. Thank you for your understanding.
---