Dear Forum Friends,
I am gay male that seeks your advice and experience on ARS Seroconversion and HIV Testing. Please see below my history:
April 8- I had unprotected anal with a man. It was quick. No ejaculation inside but not sure about pre-ejaculate. Status of partner then is unknown although claims to be negative (social health worker).
I took several tests at varying periods: 11 days- turned out negative, 13 days- negative, 18 days-negative, 21 days-negative, 27-days-negative, 31 days-negative, 2 months- negative, 5 months (Sept 29)- Negative also.
1. August 20- Mutual Masturbation with a man. HIV status is unknown but claims to be negative. I took his penis in my mouth for not more 2 seconds when I realised it was a stupid thing to do. He came on tissue and I did not have any cuts or lacerations in my hands or mouth by then.
2. August 22- Quick Oral sex with another guy. HIV status is unknown but claims to be negative as well. This happened very short as I felt awful afterwards. He came outside and not in my mouth. Not sure if pre-ejaculate was present during this time. No ejaculation in my mouth, just to be clear. and no penetrative sex.
3. Sept 16- 22 days post-exposure to both encounters, I got tested, Rapid HIV 1/2. The nurse took a sample of blood in my arm (back of the elbow). After 30 mins, I got my result, tested negative after that. Also had a syphilis test taken, also negative. That was 3 weeks post exposure.
4. Sept 29- 35 days post exposure, roughly around 5 weeks post and 13 days after last negative test, I went back to the same clinic. Had the same procedure done. Also came back negative for HIV 1/2, Syphilis and Hepatitis.
5. December 24- However, very recently, I had another encounter, this time, mutual masturbation with a guy I met at the gym, again, HIV status is unknown but he claims to be negative. We didn't kiss as much and he ejaculated in his own body and I did the same. After the encounter, I immediately washed myself.
I have not tested since Sept 29 (5 weeks post exposure) last one due to my busy schedule and I have not had any encounter after plus the clinic was closed for holiday during the Christmas break but I am slated for a test this coming weekend.
I did not feel anything during the past couple of weeks and months after my last test. I felt normal.
Fast forward to December 31, 2013 (what a way to welcome the new year right?). I woke up feeling a bit under the weather. At first it started with faint body pains and no fever or whatsoever. As the day progressed, I regularly checked my temperature and it was at the highest of 37.5 degrees Celcius or 98 farenheit. I drank Paracetamol for it even though the fever wasn't really evident just so I can manage it properly. I was able to get through the night, barely.
Come January 1, new year's day, I felt a little more ill than usual. Still with the body pain although it stung a bit more. The fever remained the same at the highest 98F. I wasn't really sure why the fever wasn't going out of my body so I started to worry and just continued with the Paracetamol and a couple of pain relievers. I did not have night sweats, but I was chilly although that can be expected for someone with fever. I also felt that I was hot inside but the body isn't.
Today, it's January 2, 3rd of the supposed illness, I woke up feeling a bit more exhausted and tired than usual but I am still able to perform my regular routine, without exerting too much effort of course. I also felt a tinge in my throat although I checked and it wasn't that swollen. Throughout the day, I checked my temperature and it was still the same at 98F until this afternoon when I decided to take a lukewarm/hot shower. It felt good after but an hour later, I started feeling hotter than usual so I decided to take my temperature (I am still on medications by the way, analgesics and pain relievers). I was surprised to see that after an hour when I took a hot shower, my temperature rose from 98F to 100F (37.5C to 38.3C). I was shocked and started panicking and having anxiety attacks again. I started to feel the back of my neck looking for enlarged nodes and I was able to spot 2 pea-sized nodes at the back of my ear. It used to be there, I recall, but it didn't hurt. Now it hurts. Also, I keep checking myself for rashes and enlarged lymph nodes on my neck, my armpit and my groin. Trust me, I check every inch of my body if I could every minute.
As I am writing this, I am taking my temperature again. 3 hours post drinking paracetamol. I take my temperature every hour by the way. I know that sounds so tedious but I do it anyway. I am kind of a hypochondriac as most of my doctors say. Updated: My temperature is down from 38.3C (100F) to 37.5C (98F) again. But I am to wait another hour to test this.
Anyway, here are my questions (sorry it took so long before I got to it):
1. I am scheduled to take my 12 week post exposure test come this weekend, should I expect a different result from the one I had at 3 weeks and 5 weeks? I have asked every peer counsellor I know about this, even went to the extent of asking them to go through my files again just to be sure about my history. This is really what gets to me. The result at 12 weeks. I am terrified at the thought.
2. The exposures Ive had including the most recent one, all 3 of them, does it pose a risk of transmission given that the other parties status is unknown (although negative in premise). Also, can someone enlighten me on risks and exposures? I often find myself getting depressed after a chance encounter (I am medicated with Prozac whenever I am depressed).
3. Can someone enlighten me also on the different accuracy of the testing periods? What difference does it make when you test at 4 weeks post exposure and 5 weeks and 6 weeks and 12? I am reading a lot of forums and not one seem to give a response that is consistent.
4. The symptoms I am currently experiencing right now, is this indicative of a seroconversion given that I had an encounter just 7 days prior to this post? Also, can someone actually seroconvert at 4 months (August was my last exposure, let's count to Dec 31, that's 4 months post). Is this ARS Symptoms related to HIV or ARS (Anxiety Related Symptoms)? I can't seem to tell the difference. I am clinically diagnosed with mild depression and situations like these tend to dampen my mood and make me feel more ill. Although my psychiatrist keeps telling me to keep my cool so I don't have to be on my anti-depressant drugs again.
5. These symptoms I am having, although I am aware that, hiv is not diagnosed through the symptoms, I am still having panic attacks about these not knowing. I know that only getting tested will reveal the result but as I mentioned earlier, I won't be tested until the weekend and i am trying my best not to think about it but I just can't. I know some people out there feel the same way. The nodes at the back of my ear, I actually cried over this when I felt it this morning (yes, I am that kind of depressed). Is it something I should be worried about?
Overall, I just need a kind soul who will help me get through this, my counsellors have tried their best to console me but I know that they are only saying things I want to hear. I want to hear feedback from those who don't know me personally, to get the facts straight and to set my perspective right about HIV, ARS and STDs.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE...SOMEONE HELP ME.