HIV - Prevention Expert Forum
help, a bit confused and need some expert advise
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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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help, a bit confused and need some expert advise

Hi, im hoping you can really help me out. Im so confused and i hope you can help me clarify this. Ok so i had an exposure about a year ago and i got tested for all std and came back negative. This was 3 months after possible exposure and the results were negative. I had some symptoms that took me to the er, long story short i was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS)  a couple of months ago. I was reading about that and i read that hiv and syphilis can mimic ms symptoms, so im scared maybe its either one and not ms, so my questions are
1. I got tested again for hiv 1/2 and RPR again(its been a year since possible exposure) and it was negative, am i indeed negative?
2. Does having ms delay antibodies for hiv and syphilis?
3. Do i need a special test for hiv or syphillis (syphilis) to rule it out?
Basically all i want to know is if i really have ms like they said and not hiv or syphillis (syphilis). This has really stressed me out. Please help me! Thank you!
I had a few lessions on my brain and none on my spinal cord and i got a spinal tap done and that is what showed positive for ms. Not sure what they look for i forgot but yeah, i hope this helps when replying to me. Oh and rbc and wbc are within normal range.
Welcome to the forum.  Thanks for your questions.

I'm sorry to hear of your MS diagnosis.  I wish you well.

The last thing you need at this point is to worry about other health issues -- and happily, you do not need to do that.  You have misunderstood something you have read.  There are some symptoms of MS that are similar to those of syphilis or HIV when they involve the nervous system -- but that's no different than saying that fever occurs in both pneumonia and meningitis.  The complex of neurological findings that go into a diagnosis of MS would never be confused with syphilis or HIV.  Further, the lab tests for syphilis and HIV do not lie:  they are always completely reliable when done sufficiently long after the last possible exposure, which is about 6 weeks for both of them.

To your specific questions:

1) These test results are absolutely reliable.

2) There are no medical conditions (except maybe terminal cancer or other immediately life-threatening conditions) that have any effect on HIV or syphilis blood tests.  MS absolutely does not.

3) No additional tests of any kind are needed.

Continue to work with your doctor on the MS.  Don't worry about syphilis or HIV; you definitely do not have either one.

Best wishes--  HHH, MD
Thank you! You have helped calm my nerves down. You are right, i should focus on what i do have and not what i think i have. If i had the "symptoms" im sure my results would of been positive by now, especially a year after possible exposure, thanks again, take care.
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
Seattle, WA
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