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ARS symptoms ane timeline? Please help.

Hi. I had unprotected vaginal sex with a guy I've been seeing last April 7. It was my first time to have sex ever and I trusted him so I din't really worry about STDs during that time. He pulled out on our first time (I think) but I'm not sure about the second time. (There is no excuse for my naiveté, I know.) 2 days later, he found a way to start a fight with me and stopped talking to me altogether. This got me worried because I thought I knew the kind of person he was but obviously, I didn't really know him and he really didn't care about me if he could leave me just like that. I was completely stressed after that and I didn't really get a lot of sleep. 4 days after we had sex (Wednesday, April 11), I felt an increase in my temperature. I felt slightly feverish but not enough to prevent me from going to work. I attributed it to the fact that I may have been fertile that time, or because my lady part also painful like it had a wound (which I found out from my OB a week later was post coital lacerations). The lymph nodes on my neck also felt tender and a bit painful and I had difficulty swallowing. These I attributed to the fact that I drank really cold soda and ate chocolates the day before without drinking much water. (I get infected with tonsillitis often and really quickly before but I haven't had tonsillitis in a while). Also, I had a really bad toothache the night before (which has been bugging me in the past) so I thought that the swollen nodes could be due to that too. (I also had another bottle of cold soda and a slice of cake that day.) I felt the same way the following day (Thursday, April 12). Slighty feverish but not high enough to miss work, swollen nodes, difficulty swallowing. (I had another slice of cake that day.) Friday, April 13, the fever got slightly worse but again not bad enough for me not to be able to get out of bed and do my daily tasks. I had to take a Paracetamol that night though to make myself feel better. Saturday, April 14, I still felt slightly feverish, my nodes were still tender and painful and I still had difficulty swallowing. I also noticed one very small mouth sore (really tiny, the size of a small dot which was also gone the next day). I took another Paracetamol at around lunch time and by late afternoon, my fever was gone and I felt a lot better. Sunday, April 15, my fever was completely gone and I felt like I didn't get sick at all. The only indication that I got sick was that my lymph nodes still felt slightly swollen and I still had difficulty swallowing. I went to my doctor that night and  she diagnosed me with tonsillophrayngitis and prescribed antibiotics for seven days which I immediately started on that same night. After that, my tonsils got better and by Wednesday (April 18), the pain when swallowing and the swollen lymph nodes were gone.

During this entire episode, I did not have any rashes, headaches, nausea, diarrhea, muscle and joint pains. I did feel a little stabbing pain on the joint in my thumb and on my right knee but nothing else.

Now, 16 days after my first and last exposure, I'm feeling well. Except for pain on my left knee when walking or standing with my weight on my left knee, I feel fine. I also have about 6 small red dots on my butt area but no rashes on my torso, face or arms.

So now, after that, I guess my questions are:
1.Are the symptoms that I experienced indicative of ARS? (Fever, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes) Or could they have also been caused by the other conditions that I was experiencing (tonsillitis, toothache, post coital lacerations)
2.Can ARS symptoms surface 4 days after exposure? (Which is when my sore throat, lymph nodes, and slightly feverish feeling started)
3.Are the timelines of my conditions similar or indicative of those of ARS symptoms (almost 4 days of fever, and almost a week of tonsillitis and swollen lymph nodes), or will ARS symptoms last longer?
4.Does the stabbing pain in my thumb joint and right knee qualify as muscle pain and joint paint indicative of ARS?
5.Will ARS symptoms appear at the same time or could the pain on my left knee and those red dots on my butt right now be ARS symptoms that appeared late? Are those red dots on my butt even considered the ARS rash? Or will it be worse and will they appear elsewhere?

I know that ARS cannot be diagnosed based on symptoms which is why I'm going to get myself tested in 4 weeks (6 weeks post exposure), but I'm dying from anxiety right now and I guess I'm just looking for some answers that could help calm me a bit.

Thanks in advance for your help!
2 Responses
366749 tn?1544695265
COMMUNITY LEADER
1. No, they do not look like ARS. They typically appear around 2-4 weeks of exposure and last for 1-2 weeks.
2. No, as said in 1.
3. No
4. No
5.No

Symptoms do not mean much, they are often confusing and misleading. Therefore do not focus them at all. As you had an unprotected exposure, your risk does exist, not significant though, but considerable enough to warrant a test for you.
After 28 days of the exposure, get yourself tested for HIV Duo, 4th generation tests for Antibody and Antigen, collect your conclusive report and move on with your life normally. Test is the only way to exclude ourselves from the infection in case of an exposure.
3 Comments
Thank you so much for your response. I don't want to sound pushy but just a quick follow-up, I hope you don't mind. Is it possible in cases like this for the meds that I took (Paracetamol for fever, and antibiotics for the tonsillitis and laceration) to stop the "symptoms" from progressing? Would they have reacted to these medication? Would ARS symptoms respond to these meds? Or will they have continued to progress?

Thank you again in advance!
No, these medicines can't stop the symptoms from progressing. Your symptoms were too early to be considered as ARS
I've been observing my body a lot since my last post. Last Monday (16 days post possible exposure), I noticed several red dots on my butt. I also felt pain on my left knee and my right thumb. Thursday (19 days post possible exposure), I had 3 very small mouth sores. Two disappeared the following day, one took several days to heal. I also noticed that I've been waking up with a congested nose. I didn't have cough or fever though.

Last April 25, I went ahead and got myself tested. This was 18 days after possible exposure. The med rep said they used a third generation test. As per my lab results, the test name is HIV Ag/Ab (Screening). Method used is CMIA. I tested nonreactive. I also consulted with an infectious disease doctor. I told her about the tonsillitis, fever, and lymph nodes and she said that those symptoms came on too early to be related to ARS (which is what most websites and what the med rep also said).

However, today I noticed that the pores on my thighs look slightly red. It's not very noticeable but if I look closely, it looks like the pores are more prominent and red. I also noticed about 4 red dots on my arm (like tiny insect bites). The red dots on my butt from last week are still there but have turned a lighter color. I've always suffered from a case of body acne so I'm not sure whether the spots on my back are acne or rashes. No rashes on my chest though except for 2 red bumps (which looks more like pimples than rashes) to me. I also started feeling stabbing pains on my right elbow and my leg, and arm (about 3-4 seconds of throbbing/stabbing pain and then disappears) and the pain on my right thumb is back. I also felt a pains and needles sensation on my right arm down to my right hand. I've also had difficulty swallowing (like there's a formation of saliva or mucus at the back of my throat).

With those things said, I'd like to ask the following:

1. Can ARS symptoms present itself in a staggered manner? Say for example, fever, swollen lymph nodes, and sore throat after 4 days (although again, my doctor said 4 days is too early for ARS symptoms to appear), and then rashes and mouth sores after 2 weeks, and then pins and needles sensation after 3 weeks?
2. Where does the ARS rash generally appear? And what do they look like? Can these insect bite like red dots be indicative of ARS? Can the ARS rash present itself without fever and any other symptoms?
3. Are mouth sores and pins and needles sensations symptoms of ARS? How about the nose congestion and difficulty swallowing?
4. Will the muscle pain and joint pain related to ARS be full body pain? Or can they be in certain areas only like what I've experienced? Can they be muscle pain without fever?
5.  Are the symptoms I'm experiencing indicative of ARS?
6. How conclusive are my test results? I know 18 days post possible exposure is too soon to be conclusive which is why I'm getting retested to be sure. Should I do it at the 4-week mark or the 6-week mark?

Like what I said in my previous post, I understand that symptoms are not reliable when it comes to this situation which is why I got tested and will get retested but I just want to understand what's going on in my body.
20620809 tn?1504362969
You really do not need to keep listing symptoms. That is irrelavent  and does not say anything about HIV.  As has already been said to you, HIV is NOT diagnosed EVER by symptoms.  Your worry is making you hyper focus on that and it is not productive use of your energy.  It is pointless to keep focusing on that.  

You did have a risk, also has been said to you.  But a one time sexual exposure is low risk.  You should test again with a 4th generation DUO test at 28 days for total conclusive results.  CMIA results from days 14 to 20 are very unlikely to change.  So, expect a negative.  

In the mean time, quit analyzing yourself and 'symptoms' and stay busy to distract yourself until 28 days post exposure have passed.
1 Comments
Thank you! I have a question regarding the test that I took though. The med tech said that they used a third generation test for my HIV screening. But, the test results said HIV Ag/Ab and method used is CMIA. I'm a little confused because everytime I look it up online, CMIA is a fourth generation test that looks for both antigens and antibodies. The med rep also mentioned that I should come back after 6 weeks to retest. In my understanding, a 4th gen test is already conclusive at 28 days. Can you help clarify this for me? Also, how conclusive is the test that I took at 18 days? What is the likelihood of my results changing at 28 days? 42 days? Thanks in advance!
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