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Am I seroconverting, many symptoms and totally stressed
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Am I seroconverting, many symptoms and totally stressed

On Nov 20 last year I had unprotected sex with a Philippina sex worker in Hong Kong. In one night, twice with a condom but the third time totally unprotected. I did not ejaculate inside her but pulled out at the last moment. I am English, 40 years old, generally healthy and circumcised.

Back in England around about 10 Dec I had penile sensation and discharge - also so did my wife. Stopped making love to my wife and got a check up on 28 Dec.(38 days, 5.5 weeks after risky exposure) - Chlamydia detected and antibiotics provided.

Upto this point I was suffering no symptoms at all. Having been asked to take an HIV test has sent my mind into overtime. After starting the antibiotics I suffered two cold sores in different places, one after the other. Also one weeks painful mouth ulcers and a painful tongue. My throat became sore and made eating unpleasant, I developed a headache and nausea, all continuous for 3 weeks. My head is cloggy and my ears feels liquidy. I feel run down and lacking in energy. Every time I eat I burp and fart and don't seem to be digesting my food properly. For the last 5 days I've had watery stools.

I am stressed and anxious. I am constantly crying and feeling suicidal. I'm sure that I have contracted HIV.

The test at 38days / 5.5. weeks after exposure has come back negative. What does everybody else think - that this is encouraging - I do know that I need another one later.

Even if my symptoms are me seroconverting, could someone using a normal HIV bloodtest show positive at 5.5 weeks before any symptoms show?

What do other people think?
Tags: negative, test
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13 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_n_tn
The risk for contracting HIV is obviously increased when other STIs are present, such as Chlamydia (and, from the sound of the "cold sores", potentially herpes as well, although you didn't say where they were or if you have had cold sores in the past).

However, your 5.5 week test is extremely reassuring, so you very likely do not have HIV. Follow-up testing through 3 months is the standard recommendation, but the chances are low at this point that you have HIV. Neither your symptoms nor their timing indicate HIV ARS.

Here's an excerpt from Dr HHH on the timing of HIV tests:

http://www.medhelp.org/forums/STD/messages/708.html

- Time to positive HIV test: sometimes positive as soon as 10 days, usually positive by 3 weeks, and virtually always positive by 6 weeks, despite official advice that it is best to wait 3 months to be sure. If your HIV test is negative 6 weeks after exposure (and especially after 12 weeks), you don't have HIV, period.

I'd still get the 3-month (12 week) test for peace of mind, but your biggest issue now is resolving the indiscretion and the risk to which you subjected both her and yourself.

Cheers & good luck!
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Did your wife get treated for Chlamydia?
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Avatar_n_tn
If your symptoms were in fact due to ARS, then you would have tested positive at 5.5 weeks.  Regardless of the chlamydia, you indeed had a low risk exposure in terms of HIV.  You do not mention if you have had high and persisten fever, which is always present in cases of true seroconversion.  Some of your symptoms such as headaches, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, could be caused by the antibiotics themselves.  It happened to me when I was taking powerful antibiotics to treat a nasty case of NGU.  Also, don't forget that cold sores and canker sores cold be triggered by stress and anxiety.  So continue taking your medication for the clamydia (chlamydia) (ensure your wife does too) and probably retest at 8 or 10 weeks.  By the
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Avatar_n_tn
... I understand that canker sores are common in people who've had HIV for a long time or have moved to the AIDS stage, not in people who are just seroconverting.  In any case, have you ever had them before, maybe when you were much younger?  Relax, you'll be fine.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks to starta so far for yr reassuring reply - re cold sores, the first for about one week on my bootom lip, the usual place when i am really run down, the second for about 3 days in the middle of my upper lip, the other place i normally get them when i'm run down. - no new cold sores in any new place.

Also didn't mention that i've had 3 nights where i've woken up wet through from sweat, twice sweating from my legs and once from my chest area. Stress or all connected to initial symptoms?

Another thing is now on my mind, about my initial blood test. Taken at my local GUM (government sexual health clinic) on 28 December, (38days / 5.5. weeks after exposure) I telephoned for the results as instructed on 11 January. Syphillis (syphilis), hepatitis etc negative but they said the doctor hadn't requested HIV. I said that I had and was asked by the receptionist if I still wanted to test for HIV - I said of course and she said she would arrange it and to call back in one weeks time for the result.

I didn't supply any more blood so thinking about it, how did they then come back with a negative result. Are they lying to me to cover up the fact that they didn't initially test or do the labs that the UK Government clinics send to keep initial samples for further testing?

Once again strata, thanks for your time, talking about this is so helpful.

Peekawho, yes my wife has also been treated for chlamydia and we both seem clear. My marriage though is of course very strained at the moment, we have three young children. Besides my own personal worries about myself, my worries about my wife contracting Hiv from me, if I indeed have it are stressing me even more. I'm cracking up and as of 2 days ago, my local doctor has signed me off work and I'm on painkillers for my headache and sedatives to calm me down.
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Avatar_n_tn
thanks rocky999, have just read yr comments, no i do not believe that i have had a persistent fever - only hot regular hot flushes to go with my constant headache, burping, farting and gasey stomach and annoying nauasea. Up and down glands, lack of energy and feeling 'ill'.

So far everybody has stated that a negative at 5.5 weeks is generally reassuring, a good thing. Know, as per my last post, I am wondering about the results that the UK government clinic gave me. Unless they physically received a negative confirmation from the laboratory, surely there is no way they could make it up and tell me so.

That is now on my mind as you can see - will give them a telephone call tomorrow for two reasons:-

1) to rebook another hiv antibody bloodtest for next week or so - that will approximately be 10.5 to 12 weeks after exposure - local UK government clinics are part time and have long waiting lists - anybody else have frustrating experiences with them?

2) to question them about my first blood test results - does anybody know how they receive notification from the laboratories - if they have a hard copy of a negative result that will definitely set my mind at rest a bit more.

rocky999 - you mentioned that you had a similar experience with NGU - do you mind sharing the details a bit more - I'm so frazzled and trying to clutch at anything with hope to get me through this period of my life.

Thanks everybody so far
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Avatar_n_tn
Don't obsess about your so-called symptoms. Symptoms are never an accurate indication of HIV status. You can drive yourself crazy (as you can read that many of the rest of us already have).

As I said before, your 5.5 week HIV- test is highly reassuring. Some might even say conclusive. Here's an excerpt from Dr HHH:

http://www.medhelp.org/forums/STD/messages/708.html

- Time to positive HIV test: sometimes positive as soon as 10 days, usually positive by 3 weeks, and virtually always positive by 6 weeks, despite official advice that it is best to wait 3 months to be sure. If your HIV test is negative 6 weeks after exposure (and especially after 12 weeks), you don't have HIV, period.

It's not unusual for labs to have more blood than they need for a particular set of blood tests (in fact, often MUCH more). It's also not uncommon for them to retain samples for a brief time in case there is a question about the results or a need for additional testing.

I certainly don't think that anyone at the GUM clinic would lie to you about your HIV status.

Still, for peace of mind, you should probably get another HIV test (10.5 weeks is just as good as 12). I suggest you go back to the THT Fastest clinic in Brighton. Tell them you are bisexual to ensure you get tested, although their site claims free services for 'everyone'. They offer rapid testing, with results in less than an hour. I'm confident that the result will be negative based on your 5.5 week result.

Now you just have to worry about the wife...
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Avatar_n_tn
hi freddy999, i'm down in Eastbourne on the South Coast - tried last Monday evening to get one of these at the Terence Higgins Trusts in Brighton. Unfortunately I was told when I got there, extremely politely and sympathetically, that the THT clinic was a charity run for the benefit of male homesexuals and that they were unable to help me. (I was honest and stated that I was heterosexual) Any ideas?

Also what do you think about the first blood test that I had taken, called on 11 jan and told negative for syphillis (syphilis), hepaptitis etc but the receptionist said that the doctor hadn't requested an hiv test. When she asked would I still like my blood tested for hiv and I said yes, she said call back in a week. This i did and was told by a difeferent receptionist that everything including the hiv (except Clamydia (chlamydia) of course) was negative. How did they test for hiv in that week? From my initial supply. Wouldn't that have all been thrown away after the initial testing?

thanks freddy999
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi anxiously worried,

Try this website...

http://www.wellcare.co.uk/CMSPro/22/15.php

This is a private GP practice and they have one in Eastbourne. They give a range of tests including HIV testing including "20 min" tests, 28 day DUO tests and 10 day Proviral DNA tests, though they charge for it and will give counselling with it (though that will probably cost too). I would give them a ring first as not all of the practices are anonymous and if you take anything but the instant test, results take up to 5 days to come back. I say about "anonymous" as for some of the practices, they only accept bookings if you give card details, but others seem to be able to process on a cash basis, at which point you don't have to reveal your name.

Hope that might be helpful.
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Avatar_n_tn
Anxious worried. Just to let you know, my exposure was much lower risk, possibly considered as no risk (giving and receiving unprotected oral and protected vaginal sex with an escort in London), but I also have a wife and 2 young children and there are times when I feel overwhelmed as well. I'm 2 weeks post-exposure and will also have to deal with my emotions over the coming month. It's just to let you know you aren't alone either in the situation you're in or in feeling these things.

I saw a Wellcare doctor on Tuesday and it helped enormously, including talking things through with him. If you get anywhere near as good a doctor, it will really help.

Good luck. If you want to talk, just drop me a line through the forum.
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Avatar_n_tn
Wherabouts are you in th UK ? ... I might be able to help point you towards a free rapid test that you don't need an appointment for and would give you a result in 20 minutes.

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Avatar_m_tn

I must second what Strata has already told you (excellent advice, as always, from him (or her, sorry, don't know!)).

As others have already said, symptoms mean, let's say it together, absolutely nothing in terms of HIV infection. I went through my own period of HIV anxiety hell, and during that time, I experienced the following "symptoms":

1. Mouth ulcers, several over a period of weeks (like you, I had them before, especially as a child, but when I got them again, well, as you can guess, I attributed it to HIV)
2. Profound weight loss
3. Fatigue
4. A horrible flu, complete with long lasting headaches, sore throat and a slight fever
5. "Night sweats" (which I found out later were not really night sweats. I woke up with a damp back one night and freaked)
6. An ear infection that was so bad my eardrum almost burst
7. Tingling in the hands and feet
8. Persistent muscle pain

All of this happened within a 2 month period after the encounter that had me worried. Now, having all of this beset me led me to believe that it all must be attributable to a single cause. Of course, I was mistaken in my belief. All of the above "symptoms", save #4 and #6, could and should have been attributed to their real source: overwhelming anxiety and a pervasive feeling of doom. Do not underestimate the pernicious effect that long-term anxiety may have on both one's mental state and, consequentially, one's physical well being. #4 and #6 I realized, when I was a bit more rational, were flu related - because yes, people get the flu every day, and sometimes it is pretty bad.

Now, you tested negative at 5.5 weeks. I will echo other's comments that it would be almost unthinkable that the clinic at which you tested would make up an HIV result out of whole cloth. I would dismiss that thought at paranoia. So what does that leave us? This: a vast majority of the people who will eventually test positive for HIV will do so by the 6th week of the window period. The fact that you did not is really very assuring, and is an excellent indicator that you are indeed HIV negative.

Believe me, I know how hard it is to handle the anxiety that you are experiencing now. But think about this: the odds are really, really in your favor at this point. If it will reassure you to get another test at some point in the future, well, that's fine, if only to get you to the point where you can put all of this aside and start dealing with the other issues that have come up as a result of the encounter you described. Until you take that test, hang in there. There is no reason to be overly anxious about this, and even less reason to feel suicidal. You are going to be just fine.

Good luck to you, and best wishes.
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Avatar_n_tn
I agree go back to the THT Fastest in Brighton and mince if you have to. This really is suprising as I have never had that response when I visited THT Fastests in London & Birmingham.

Alternatively, use the Wellcare service in Eastbourne. It will cost
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