[Question #6244] HIV Anxiety - window period and symptoms concern

15 months ago
Hello Dr.

First, sorry for my awful English, I'm a Spanish speaker.

I had unprotected vaginal sex with an unknown and promiscuous woman. After 14 days, I've had symptoms like 37.5 mild fever, lymphs nodes in neck, armpit and ingle, mild diarrhea, something like esophagitis, I think oral thrust too and headaches everyday. I tested negative with DUO at 41, 66 and 91 days, and 66 days with stand-alone antibody.

After my last negative test, I saw an interview where a guy said that he tested neg at 1, 2, 3 and 4 months, but on the 5th month, he turned positive and that scared me a lot, because I still have the same lymph nodes, the mild diarrhea, the mild fever, I sweat everyday a lot and nothing to do with air acconditioner, and the day by day headaches. The symptoms didn't go away, and now every wound get infected easily and I think my immune system is weaked. I am sure that I'm +ve but with a delayed seroconversion like the guy of the interview.

I'd love to know your opinion, Dr. Thank you.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
15 months ago
 Welcome to our forum. Thanks for your question. I'll do my best to help. Before I get directly to your question let me remind you that even most very promiscuous women do not have HIV. Thus statistically  it is unlikely that your partner had HIV. In addition even if she did, the risk of acquiring HIV infection following a single unprotected exposure is less than one infection in 1000 acts of intercourse.  

 The flu – like symptoms that you describe are  symptoms which occur in some people who have recently acquired HIV. At the same time, the majority of persons (more than 99%) with these symptoms of other, non-HIV related viral illnesses. Your test results suggest this is the case for you. 

 Finally, currently available tests for HIV are among the most reliable tests in all of medicine. Wihen persons experience symptoms such as you report which are due to HIV, currently available HIV test typically detect all infections. Your repeated negative tests provide  conclusive evidence that the symptoms you report are not due to HIV. There is no need for concern about HIV and no need for further HIV testing related to the encounter you described. If your abnormal swollen lymph nodes persist, my recommendation is to work with your doctor to look for other causes.  Whatever the interview that you saw or heard was, it was scientifically incorrect. 

 I hope this information is helpful to you. Please don't worry. Take care. EWH
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15 months ago
Thank you for your response, dear Dr. Hook.

I had forgotten to say that at the moment of the sexual intercourse, the woman was in her menstrual period but apparently there was no bleeding while the sexual intercourse, anyways, I think that it increases the risk.

I also feel that my immune system is weakened, because now the wounds on my skin get infected easily and take more time to heal. Also I have something white in my mouth (the inside of the cheeks) that is recurrent and I think it's candida or something like that. In addition, a lot of acne and dandruff on my scalp. And what about the mild fever (37.5°C) this whole time, and the sweats? At night some symptoms are relieved (the headache and the mild fever)

That's why I insist that it might be HIV. I might be wrong, but the anxiety got me.

And you're right, the interview would be scientific incorrect. However, it was lack of details.

Thank you Dr.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
15 months ago

Exposure to menstrual blood does not increase the risk of acquisition of HIV. 

I understand your anxiety. The problems you have however have many possible causes.  You have now ruled out HIV.  It is now time for you to work with your regular doctor to look for other causes of your symptoms.  You can have complete confidence that you did not get HIV from the exposure you described.  EWH

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15 months ago
Does the menstrual blood have no infective capacity?

That's my last question Dr.

Thank you very much for your reponses and help me, I'll accept the results and move on my life. Also, realize another causes of my symptoms. Have a great afternoon Dr.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
15 months ago
 Typically menstrual blood will have amounts of HIV similar to the amounts found in circulating blood. At the same time the amount of HIV present in vaginal secretions is also about the same as in blood and sometimes is even higher than blood levels.   It is for this reason that exposure to menstrual blood does not increase risk for acquisition of HIV. 

 I hope my comments have helped you. This thread will be closed shortly as per forum guidelines. Take care. EWH
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