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Avatar universal

Shingles and HIV

Doctor I was recently diagnosed with shingles and the doctor says a suppressed immune system causes this. This statement had me nervous about a sexual relationship I had 4 months ago for a month and a half with a female whom I later found out was with a lot of guys and did some drugs.  I looked online and it said HIV can cause shingles.

I was tested for HIV at 5 weeks with unigold, 6 weeks with oraquick mouth swab, 8 weeks with mouth swab again, and 11 weeks with another unigold test.  All negative.  

Is it possible I have been infected with HIV and did not show yet?  Are these tests conclusive?  Would newly acquire HIV cause shingles?  should I have another HIV test done?

Thanks for your help
8 Responses
239123 tn?1267647614
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Welcome to the forum and thanks for your question.

Shingles, also called herpes zoster, is a localized skin recurrence of childhood chickenpox.  It can indeed result from immune system impairment, which is why it is most common in older persons (mostly over 60) due to natural decline in immune function with aging.  However, many cases of shingles occur in entirely healthy younger (or older) persons with entirely normal immune systems.

Shingles is more common in people with HIV.  However, the reverse is not true:  HIV is no more common in people with shingles than without it.  Further, when shingles occurs with HIV, it is only in advanced infection, i.e. overt AIDS -- generally many years after catching the virus.  And it is rarely if ever the only manifestation of advanced HIV infection; it occurs almost entirely in persons with other obvious symtoms of AIDS, other opportunistic infections, and so on.

Finally, your test results prove without doubt that you did not catch HIV during your previous sexual relationship.  With the tests you had, it is impossible to have HIV with negative results at 11 weeks (and it rarely takes that long; even your 6 and 8 week results were virtually 100% reliable).  (You also describe a lower risk for HIV than you might have thought-- but that's another story and makes no difference in my opinion or advice.)

So for sure you have no worries about HIV in this situation.  No further testing is needed.  The important thing is to follow your doctor's advice about your herpes zoster treatment and follow-up.

I hope this helps.  Best wishes--  HHH, MD
239123 tn?1267647614
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Minor correction:  HIV is slightly more common in people with shingles than those without it, but only slightly.  Most doctors would recommend HIV testing in people with shingles, just to be safe.  But as in your situation, almost nobody is HIV positive if they don't also have longstanding HIV with other, obvious manifestations of HIV/AIDS.
Avatar universal
I know I probably sound like a broken record doctor....and for that I apologize but I guess I'm just nervous....to clarify with out a doubt...your saying my 8 week test is 100% reliable as negative let alone my 11 week?

And is there a difference between oral and finger stick blood?

Thanks doc
Avatar universal
Also doctor I should add I have had fatigue for over two months with joint pain that comes and goes.  Could this be other symptoms and I just didn't show positive on my testing?  Or is the 8 week mouth and 11 week finger test 1000% accurate and this is unrelated?  Thanks and this will be the last question as im sure you are busy.
239123 tn?1267647614
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
This information doesn't change my opinion or advice.  Don't over-think it; there are no circumstances that could make your HIV test results unreliable.  They PROVE you don't have HIV.

If you are interested in a recent discussion of HIV test performance and reliability at various intervals after exposure, take a look at this thread:

http://www.medhelp.org/posts/show/1704700
Avatar universal
Thanks doc I can breathe a sigh of relief and accept my mistakes did not give me HIV!!....one final question and you can even close the thread if you wish....does shingles have anything to do with any std or other disease?  Thanks for your advice,your patience, and have a reasonable fee to have professional advice.
Avatar universal
Ok one last one along with my last post and I promise that's it!!!....rapid tests both oral and blood are just as reliable as blood drawn tests?.....again thanks so much for your patience and advice and I will not ask no more ?s after these final 2....thanks gain doctor!!
239123 tn?1267647614
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Stop it.  You're anxious mind is searching for all sorts of "yes but" or "what if" scenarios.  There are none.   Your shingles has abolustely nothing to do with your sex life.  Ignore any and all additional worries that come to mind about it.

This thread is definitely over.
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