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Positive ANA and HIV
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This forum is limited to prevention of HIV and to safe sex in general. All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

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Positive ANA and HIV

Doctor, In early 2009 I had unprotected sex twice with a guy. We used condoms all other times.  He assured me he was "clean".  In any event I realize the decision was stupid.  Days later I started to get anxious and began to feel all kinds of symptoms, including body tingles, night sweats, headaches and rashes on my hands and arms that came and went within minutes.  Basically I had the worst 3 months of my life!  One of my symptoms was pain in my arm pits.  It's like a deep aching feeling, sort of like a tooth ache. My hiv test results came back negative at 8 weeks and negative again at 12 weeks (may have been at 11.5 weeks).  After receiving my negative test results, the body tingles, night sweats and rashes subsided.  The pain in my arm pits, however, persisted.  I chose to ignore the aches for a while but then I noticed that it wasn't just my arm pits that where aching.  I had the same ache in my elbow creases, and in my groin area.  My hair also started to fall out and the headaches started to come back, although not as bad as before.  My doctor said my hair was likely falling out due to the months of previous anxiety.  I did not mention the aching pain to my doctor for a while as I was hoping it would eventually go away, but it didn't.  I feel these aches every day, usually in one arm pit....then the pain commences in the other arm pit or at my elbow creases.  I finally decided I could not ignore my symptoms and I went to my doctor.  He sent me for testing and it came back for high ANA.  I am now freaking out that somehow my hiv test at 12 weeks wasn't conclusive and that I could possibly have hiv!!  Is this possible?  My doctor is having me do a repeat hiv test for peace of mind and other tests to see whether I suffer from another condition.  He found no swollen lymph nodes on me. I am trying my hardest to remain calm.  He found no swollen lymph nodes on my body. I just received these results today and am trying my hardest to remain calm.  Please help me!
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Welcome to the HIV forum.  I'll try to help.

Initial reaction, after I stopped reading following your description of symptoms and statement that your HIV tests were negative at 8 and 12 weeks.  The symptoms didn't sound at all like new HIV and the negative blood tests prove it.  Unless there is an awfully big surprise when I read the rest of your message, you can relax in the 100% knowledge you don't have HIV.  There is no medical condition that changes the reliability of HIV test results, with the possible exception of advanced, terminal diseases and those associated with potent chemotherapy.  Having a positive ANA test certainly won't do that.

Now I have read the rest.  There is nothing in the remaining information that changes my opinion.  You didn't catch HIV, and your symptoms still don't suggest it.  Further, unless your partner was an injection drug user, recently released from prison, a bisexual man, or an immigrant from an AIDS-endemic country, the chance he had HIV is almost zero.  HIV remains rare as a heterosexually transmitted infection in most populations in the US and most industrialized countries.

I agree with your doctor that another HIV test is a good idea, but only for the exact same reason he suggests:  your peace of mind.  From a medical or risk assessment perspective, you needed no further testing.  There is no chance you have HIV, assuming there are no other risks that you didn't mention.

When the latest HIV result returns negative -- which it will -- you must believe the result.  If your symptoms persist, continue to work with your doctor to learn the cause.  But please put HIV aside.  It simply isn't an issue here.

Good luck--  HHH, MD
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