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Asymptomatic HIV infected people..Possible or Underhyped Myth??
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Asymptomatic HIV infected people..Possible or Underhyped Myth??

Doc,

My question(s) below might be loaded, but I do believe it has real academic value for all forum users here. I have read that up to 80% of infected people could possibly exhibit the tell-tale sign of a fever after the 2-4 week time period of having acquired HIV.

However, I have ALSO read that 30% of newly-infected recipients of HIV do not exhibit symptoms. See following link, if necessary.

http://hivinsite.ucsf.edu/insite?page=ask-01-03-17

1) Is this really so?  Is there any *fine-print* to this 30% or is the fever appearing in almost 80% of new cases the actual fine print?

2) I know standard testing for HIV is THE proven mechanism to ascertain HIV status, but if it is not too complicated for this forum and its users, why do some people who have recently acquired the HIV virus not exhibit fever? Or do they?  Any status on this?

I am just trying to figure this one out as everyone on this forum is so worried about symptoms. I thought that I would ask this multi-pronged question so that others on this forum, including myself, can TRULY know and understand that symptoms are not only varied and a result of many other things as you have stated time and time again, but rather, can not be present at all as it relates HIV.  I'm NOT splitting hairs, but 30% is a big number.  Thanks.

Regards

-WorriedUS
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Different studies, using different study methods and assumptions, come up with variable results.  For example, a prospective study that carefully examines newly infected people in real time tend to find higher rates of fever and other symptoms.  Those that interview people later, say a year or more after they were infected, find lower rates of symptoms.  Some people's recall of symptoms is faulty and others don't notice minor symptoms that are picked up in real-time research.

In any case, I don't see much discrepancy between the two sets of statistics you cite:  80% with fever means 20% didn't have it, and many (most?) of those might have had no symptoms at all.  So it looks like 20% vs 30% with no symptoms in the two studies you mention.  Which seems pretty much like hair-splitting to me.  The bottom line is that clinical research simply isn't as precise as you might hope for.

HHH, MD
7 Comments
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Doc, I notice that you tell the WW at times that testing 6-8 weeks and beyond brings all symptoms to a full stop in relationship to HIV.   Is there ever a case where prolonged symptoms would have you change your opinion in your own clinic or would you look at other causes after a 6-8 week test?
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Your tests prove you cannot have HIV.   If you keep posting on other people's threads, you will be blocked from all participation in the forum.
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AnxietyX5

You shoudl see this thread in the HIV Support Forum entitled "test question - alexb1: 11/02/2006"

It might have some useful information for testing windows you are looking for, as well as links to other threads on this website.  And if you have general questions, lots of forum users are knowledgeable on testing time periods and their efficacy amongst other things, at least from what I have found.  You might be better off asking your questions in the HIV support forum, especially since you do not have a credit card and since your questions are general, with the exception of your 'pink' spot question.  But I would think that if your questions were more specific and not necessarily new, then I believe the Doc would possibly answer. But I've seen your postings and you are asking general questions (which is okay), but really you can find a lot of the answers to your questions by simply searching this website.  Just type in "time to test positive HIV" and "test window HIV" and you'll get a wealth of information.  Really, there is really very little in terms of situations and questions that hasn't been covered already on HIV or STD, from what I have seen. and BTW, you DON"T have HIV.  you already tested negative at 11 weeks didn't you?   you're fine.

good luck

WorriedUS

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Doctor H, my LAST question I SWEAR!! --->since this IS my second thread within 6 months. I REALLY hope you can answer this follow up, and promise this is a worthwhile question (I believe).

So then you might be implying there really is a paucity of newly infected HIV persons who do NOT exhibit ARS, or at least some of the symptoms associated with ARS, most notably fever?

Or rather, judging by the seemingly-inconsistent stats I mentioned, there really is a dearth of studies on this phenomenon? I mean to say, a lack of research into those who do not exhibit ARS?

I know this is such a moot point, because just because a person does NOT exhibit any such symptoms, it does not mean they are not infected.  Sort of like saying that not getting tested and not knowing the results means you may not have been infected. Hence the lack of research and studies on this subject area.

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But I thought I would ask you anyways to shed some light on this because this whole particular forum (HIV Prevention) has everyone asking about symptoms from HIV, alongside their risks for infection from their respective sexual encounters.



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You are splitting hairs.  Most new HIV infections cause symptoms, but the symptoms often are subtle and easily missed.  When symptoms do appear, they are nonspecific--that is, they are the same as with many other, more common illnesses.

Test results count.  Symptoms do not.  What's so complicated about it?

HHH, MD
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Doc,

The lightbulb just went ON on the top of my head.

But yes, understood -- I AM splitting hairs, now that I realize it.  

I was looking for A DEFINITIVE symptom or a few of them anyways, in most newly infected people.  But now I know that HIV is just so irregular with respect to symptoms (and also asymptomatic), that there really are none, as you mentioned.

Hence antibody-detection is the only clinically accepted way to know that anyone has the virus, after a period of 6-8 weeks. What a strange disease!!!!!  AAh!

Thanks doc.  This is THE BEST site (due to your confident and cogent answers) that I have ever seen and read amongst all AIDS and HIV websites. I hope you can continue to help educate us for many, many, many, years to come.  And that I can continue to help contribute to this site and its forum and learn more about this disease myself.

Your service, time, dedication, research, knowledge, compassion, understanding to your fellow mankind, cannot go unnoticed by anyone. I am dumfounded.

Have you been on Oprah yet??

kidding!

Regards

-WorriedUS
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