I had a unprotected vaginal sex with a sex worker 2 and a half months ago. Started PEP 72 hours later (Combivir).I took PEP for 5 days and stopped medication due to strong side effects, anemia, weakness and being unable to fulfill my duties as a parent.
3 weeks after the exposure and two weeks after stopping PEP I present a viral infection (low fever (38.5), swollen glands on groin and sharp pins and needles all over my body (nerves) for three days and felt generally unwell for that entire week. My anxiety level was extremely high as I never get sick. On the second day of fever I had blood work done, negative baseline antibody test and a severely low platelet count as well as a very low white blood count (Lymphocytes, Leukocytes). I was sure by this stage I had contracted HIV, particularly since I had studied several clinical cases presenting this very same blood work alterations during seroconversion. 2 days later I repeated my blood work with all numbers being within normal range however low platelets were even lower. This confused me.
5 weeks after the last dose of PEP I took a rapid HIV antibody and p24 test (finger prick) - Negative. Nurse explained that results were not conclusive and that P24 could not be detected after 5 weeks and antibodies were not yet strong enough.
At this time I continued to be sick with Diarrhea for a full week
6 weeks after last dose of Pep I took another rapid test (serum blood from arm) - Negative. Doctor assured me my exposure was very low risk and that I did not require further testing. I explained my low blood count and platelets, he said that a patient going through seroconversion does not go back to normal numbers 2 days after onset of symptoms and that if my viral infection three and a half weeks before was indeed HIV the rapid test would pick the antibodies by now.
Sickness continued, Pharyngitis and general weakness, swollen tonsils, 10 days.
At 7 weeks and two days after the last dose I took again a rapid test and one the following day (finger prick) with negative results. Nurse advice it is conclusive and I do not require further testing, that she has never seen it change after this point.
Extreme fatigue, slowly getting better and in a better mood.
All rapid tests were the standard approved European test, 4th generation.
I am extremely confused and scared. I don't understand my blood work, my symptoms, particularly after unprotected sex with a high risk street sex worker.
1) Has PEP delayed my antibodies to detectable levels, even taking it for 5 days?
2) Are Rapid tests reliable at 50 days?
3) Why am I sick every single week since the onset of symptoms, could this be a long seroconversion lasting over a month?
4) Could PEP have weakened my immune system + anxiety and poor sleep be the cause of constant illness?
I realize that a hemogram and symptoms do not diagnose someone with HIV but it all seems too much of a coincidence and I have tested negative on everything else. A very low platelet count at the time of viral infection makes me think that I was seroconverting.