HIV - Prevention Expert Forum
hiv expert or not?
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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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hiv expert or not?

Hi - I recently went to an infectious diseases doctor in a line of many doctors I'm currently going to because of neurological and muskuloskletal symptoms going on.  I had an unprotected anal experience with a guy a year ago and have not been sexually active since.  I got tested the following time periods:

after 3 months:  HIV:  negative
after 5 months:  HEP C:  Indeterminate
after 6 months:  HEP C:  Indeterminate
                        HIV:  negative
                        HEP C (RNA):  negative
                        HEP B:  negative
                      

the infectious disease dr. does not suspect infection causing my symptoms.  I haven't had any fevers (minus a cold in the winter) and minus a two week period (3 weeks after the incident) where my body felt like it was warming up + dark urine.  This 2 week period was what got me scared of having anything in the first place.  

I am suspecting an infection of sorts mainly because Lyme seems to match most of my symptoms - the latest one being mild joint stiffness in my knees along with now red bumps forming on my knees and up my thighs (not prominent, but noticeable).  MY QUESTION:  The infectious diseases dr. said that his main expertise was HIV.  I told him about everything I've told you and he said he didn't suspect HIV, but that "75% of people with HIV don't show infected until 9 months."  This got me kind of scared.  but I've noticed you said that 3 months is generally the max nowadays.  Are we talking about the antibody tests?  Also, if by chance I had an autoimmune disorder (a possibility), would my autoimmunity disrupt any testing for STDs?  would they take longer to show up?

I was just wondering why an "HIV expert" would say something different than yourself, being an expert too.  Is there disagreement in the field or have I simply just gone to an uninformed doctor?  

Thanks
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Welcome to the HIV forum.

Most likely you misunderstood what the doc said about HIV test results.  If not, he has a very peculiar perspective on HIV testing.  What you read on this forum is correct:  with the standard HIV antibody tests in current use, almost everybody (98% or more) with a new HIV infection has positive test results by 6-8 weeks and virtually 100% by 3 months.  The idea that only 75% would be positive by 9 months is, well, ludicrous.  MedHelp moderators are advised to not get into online debates about advice questioners have had from their doctors, so I won't have anything more to say about it.  But I stand by this perspective and would not mind if you were to print out this response and show it to him.

No medical conditions are documented to delay development of HIV antibody or to interfere significantly with HIV test results.  There are theoretical concerns about advanced, near terminal illnesses (terminal cancer, life-threatening bloodstream infections, etc) and about potent chemotherapy or immunosuppressive drugs in large doses -- but even these have few if any actually documented cases of it actually happening.  Certainly garden variety autoimmune disorders are not likely to have any effect.

My final thought is that HIV is not a likely cause of the possible neurological problem you reported on the community symptoms forum, or of the symptoms described here.  And although I am not an expert in Lyme disease, I also am skeptical of that possibility -- but this forum is limited to HIV/AIDS, so I won't say more about this or other possible explanations for your symptoms.

Sorry I can't be more helpful.  Good luck--  HHH, MD
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
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Edward W Hook, MDBlank
University of Alabama at Birmingham
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