[Question #6482] ARS symptoms months after confirmed exposure

13 months ago
Hi Doctors,

Approx 9 months ago, I recieved fellatio and gave rimming to a FTM trans person. A few days later they tested positive for HIV and 5 weeks earlier had ARS symptoms. I have obviously tested since the event: 14 and 70 day HIV RNA test, 4, 6, 8, 12 and 32 week 4th Gen test and a number of insti rapid tests, the most recent being at week 37. 

Over the last few days I've had a fever (in and around 100 degrees farenheit, a mucusy cough, a bad headache and what feels like a rash (hot and stinging) on my trunk, but it doesn't look like a typical rash. The headache has vanished, cough is improving but fever and 'rash' remain. 

Could this be a very late example of ARS? And is there any way I could have HIV from the original exposure given my testing schedule? 

Thanks in advance for your reply.. 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
13 months ago
Welcome back to the forum, but I'm sorry you found it necessary. I reviewed our discussion a few months ago, following the same exposure.

First, there is no such thing as ARS occurring this long after acquiring HIV. Second, there of course are innumerable viruses and other potential causes of minor illnesses like the one you have been experiencing. I'm also going to quote part of my reply last time:

The modern HIV blood tests are among the most accurate diagnostic tests ever developed, for any medical condition. If done sufficiently long after the last possible exposure (and yours were done plenty long enough), negative results overrule all other factors. No matter how high the risk of HIV at the time, and no matter what symptoms you might have now or in the future, your test results prove conclusively you did not catch HIV.

There has never been an exception to that statement, with the kinds of tests you have had. You're not going to be the first. And you've had still more negative tests since then.

So all is well. Assuming no more recent exposures, you definitely do not have HIV. See a doctor about your current illness if it continues or you remain concerned. But please don't worry:  I know it was disconcerting to find you were sexually exposed to an HIV infected partner. But you truly had an exposure that carried no realistic risk of catching it, and your tests are solid. Do your best to move on with no further worry about this. And for sure no more testing!

I hope these comments put things to rest for you. Best wishes and stay safe.

HHH, MD
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