HIV - Prevention Expert Forum
HIV Neuropathy?
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HIV Neuropathy?

Hi,

I had a HIV test after 4.5 month and the results were negative. This was almost 1.5 years ago.
Before the test, I started having weird sensations in my feet and later on hands (tingling, burning, and numbness. These symptoms come and go and I still have them. I never believed my results and I always thought there were either wrong or that I should test again at the 6 months point. I have been worried about my status for almost 2 years now and my life has been majorly affected.
Should I retest? Do testing errors happen? Could my symptoms be related to HIV neuropathy? IF not what is causing them? Could anxiety do that?

thank you
300980_tn?1194933000
Welcome to our Forum.   I'm sorry to hear that you've struggled with these concerns for nearly two years – I’ll do my best to help.  Lab test errors do occur but this is very, very uncommon, particularly for tests such as HIV where the results can be life changing.  While I doubt that this was the case for you, I would suggest that you re-test-ONCE with a commitment to believe the test results.  You say nothing about the basis of your concerns but I can tell you that while few persons have HIV, the sorts of neuropathic symptoms that you mention are rare in persons with HIV and when they occur, typically occur in persons who have been infected for some time.  In contrast, there is a long list of other medical causes of such pains although the fact that you report that they tend to come and go makes a major, ongoing problem somewhat less likely.  Anxiety however can be episodic and cause all of the complaints that you mention.

Thus my advice is to get tested again and find out where you stand, then to move forward from there.  Assuming that your initial test was correct (which is certainly the most likely outcome), then talk with your doctor and review possible other causes.  I hope this suggestion is helpful to you.  EWH
6 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
thank you Dr.

It was a brief one encounter with a heterosexual white man.

Are you suggesting that I re-test because the first time I tested was at 4.5 months and not 6 months or because there is a chance there could have been an error with my test? The test was an ELISA done in a lab.

What are the chances of the 2nd test being negative again.

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300980_tn?1194933000
The statisitcal risk of getting HIV from a  single unprotected sexual encounter with a heterosexual while male is less than 1 in 10 million.  

I suggested you re-test because you don't believe your test result.  I anticipate that is you re-test you will get the same result- negative fore HIV.  When that occurs, please believe the result. There is virtually no chance of getting two incorrect test results in a row. EWH
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you Dr.

Just one last comment.

Have you ever come across someone whose test results changed while testing after the 3 months mark?
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300980_tn?1194933000
No.  EWH
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Avatar_m_tn
thank you Dr. Really apprecaite your help.
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This Forum's Experts
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
Seattle, WA
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Edward W Hook, MDBlank
University of Alabama at Birmingham
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