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Avatar universal

weird symptoms one year later

Hi Doctor(s),

I know you both repeatedly have said that symptoms are never a good indicator of infection, but my anxiety has been at an all time high within the past few days.Exactly a year ago, I had an unprotected one night stand. From what I recall, there was no ejaculation, but still unprotected penetration. This was, of course, a very stupid mistake and one that I've tried to put behind me but cannot seem to get out of my head due to fear of having contracted something. I was tested for gonnorhea and chlamydia, and both of these came up negative. I did test positive for HPV (although I can't be certain if it was from this particular incident in question, as I had a serious boyfriend prior to this event). For the past year, though I've experienced few symptoms here and there, I knew that most of this could be attributed to anxiety and general stress. There are times where I've been so nervous of this exposure to the point of having to vomit. However, I have been relatively calm for the past few months as I've been very busy and have lots of great things going on in my life. The other day, I went to the nail salon to get a pedicure and the technician noticed that I had fungus on several of my toenails. Since I usually have polish on my nails, I can't say that I can recall noticing when the fungus started to grow. When I looked this up online, I noticed that my nails looked similar to a type of fungus that is most commonly associated with HIV infection. Since reading this, I have been in constant panic. I have never had any type of fungus before, I am very young, and this makes no sense to be happening, unless my immune system is somehow compromised. Would this type of symptom occur only a year after possible infection? I have not been able to sleep/have eaten very little since reading about this. I am going to get tested this week, but I just need some words and advice to keep my stress levels down until I do. Thanks so much, Doctors. I really appreciate it.  
8 Responses
300980 tn?1194929400
Welcome to our Forum.   I could have probably written much of this answer, agreeing with your statement the signs and symptoms are a terrible indicator of the likelihood of HIV before I read the remainder if your post (I  did read it however :)).  I will try to help.

First, let me point out that the risk of any singe penetrative exposure is very, very low.  Few heterosexual men have HIV (less than 1%) and the risk of getting HIV form a single penetrative exposure, in the unlikely circumstance that he was infected is less than 1 infection per 100 exposure.  Thus your mathematical risk for infection is less than 1 in 100,000 - your risk of getting hit by a car is higher.

2. As you point out, the presence of fungal infection is certainly not at all a good indicator of HIV infection. They are common (in fact, they can actually be spread by the footbaths and tools of pedicures) and only a fraction of a percent of persons who get fungal infections turn out to have HIV.

My advice:
1. Don’t worry,
2.  The CDC recommends that all persons get tested for HIV at least once and for person who have new partners, testing should occur more frequently.  I suggest you get tested, not because I have any concern at all that you have HIV but because of the reassurance it will provide for you.

I hope this comment is helpful. EWH
Avatar universal
Thanks so much for your fast response, Doctor. This does make me feel a little better...unless, of course, I'm the unlucky one!

Wouldn't you expect a nail fungus to be relatively rare among young, healthy people though? Especially if I don't have any history OR family history of this. Also, would things like HIV related fungus and gingivitis appear so prominently only a year after infection? I definitely have not had any other risky exposures, since I have not had any type of sexual activity since this incident.
300980 tn?1194929400
Now fungus infections of the nails are not rare at all.  Particularly among people who go to gyms, public pools, etc.  Further, as you point out, HIV related disease would not appear as opportuntistic infections just a year after infection.  

You really need not worry.  As I said, I recommended the test to provide you with peace of mind. EWH
Avatar universal
Ok--so while fungal infections can happen to people with HIV, this normally wouldn't happen for some time? I think I was just concerned because this was the first time I had seen anything like this on my body. Seems like nowadays anything that I notice healthwise, I attribute to the exposure from a year ago.

Also, the 1/100 infection rate worries me a bit, as I thought the transmission rate from man to woman was around 1/1000?

In any case, thanks for your responses, Doctor. You've definitely alleviated my worries a bit.
300980 tn?1194929400
Please don't get confused by the numbers I provided.

Less than 1% of the popualtion has HIV - for hetrosexual men and women the rate is far lower, in the neighborhood of 1 in 10,000 peole are infected.  Then if your partner happended to be infected (unlikely) then their risk if infection you is still only 1 in 1000.  

Hope this is clearer. Please don't worry about HIV EWH
Avatar universal
Thanks for clarifying, Doctor. I understand the numbers now.

I will try not to worry so much before my test, as everyone has been telling me to do. However, it is difficult to keep my nerves down when reading about proximal subungual fungus, which, on everything I read about it, is said to be a "clinical marker of HIV." Do they mean advanced HIV when talking about this condition?
300980 tn?1194929400
Yes, those comments are regarding people who have been infected for years.  

This will need to conclude this thread but, before I do, one final piece of advice.  Please stay off of the internet. There is so much mis-information there that it typically causes more anxiety than good. EWH
Avatar universal
Thanks, Doctor. Yes, I know that I drive myself crazy by looking my symptoms up online. No further questions.

Will report back with my results.
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