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ARS Symptoms
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ARS Symptoms

Hello,

I know that ARS symptoms are non-specific to HIV. However, I would like to know if the following symptoms could indicate ARS three weeks after possible exposure (i.e. would this lead a health professional to reasonably suspect or not suspect ARS if an actual risk exposure took place). Sore throat with difficulty swallowing lasting 4-5 days (bacterial culture negative), no fever (at least no known fever), one swollen lymph node at the base of neck (back right side) this check was done by GP, other lymph node areas not checked by doctor but did not appear or feel swollen, no real cold symptoms maybe some very mild ones possibly due to seasonal allergies, mild lethargy and muscle pain, mild purpura on forehead two weeks after other symptoms disappeared after vomiting (due to gag reflex when brushing teeth).

I realize that these questions are asked all the time - I do not want to include exposure information in the question so please answer based on symptoms - again I know that ARS is variable and you cannot tell your HIV status based on symptoms. I am simply asking for an opinion because every situation is different and I am tired of googling. Thank you in advance.
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Hello,
Thank you for your post.
Symptoms like the ones you describe could be consistent with acute HIV sero-conversion, even though they would rarely appear without a high fever and a maculo-papular rash.  The difficulty is that symptoms are not specific, and these are more likely to be related to many other conditions, far much more common than HIV.  That is why these symptoms have to be in context with a high risk exposure.  Therefore if there has been an exposure to HIV, one should be tested regardless of the symptoms experienced.
Kind regards,
Dr José
3 Comments
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And to clarify further there has been no visible rash.
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What exactly constitutes a high risk exposure - what about unprotected vaginal or oral sex with someone of unknown status - would this be considered high risk?

Or is it only high risk when the person is known to be HIV +, is an intravenous drug user, or is an MSM?
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