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H.I.V AND NEUROPATHY SYMPTOMS.

Question: 

Hi AIDS Vancouver Staff,
I have some questions that are not getting out of my mind.

I am a gay man, and I am just concerning about something. I was just wondering if H.I.V has any link with Neuropathy.
I am going to tell you a brief description what's going on.

Recently I have experienced some burning,tingling, pins and needles sensation in my legs and feet. I went to my primary Dr. and I was told I have plantar fasciitis.
The doctor put me on this medication for it. It looks like the medication is not doing any good for me. I'd also like to mention I am a "pre diabetic".

I got tested for H.I.V, it came back negative. It has been three months since I had sex for the last time. We just had mutual masturbation, showering together, kissing and some rubbing and came.

Just outta curiosity, I have Googled it, and all I can see there's a link between H.I.V and Neuropathy. At this point I am more worried and anxious than never.
I was just wondering if you are able to clarify my concerns.

I am experiencing some symptoms such as burning sensation in my legs and feet, weight loss, stomach issues, rash, itchy skin, and pimples, red bumps on my neck, groin area and face. I have not experienced any fever.
I’ve been really anxious and worried lately.
Can these symptoms be all related to H.I.V infection or just related to anxiety and stress?
These are the tests I’ve done so far:

-At 54 days - ROUTINE (CENTAUR) 4TH GENERATION HIV ANTIBODY/ANTIGEN TEST “(Negative)”
Can this test be conclusive at 54 days?

I am currently on PreP. I started it couple months ago.
I got a 4th Generation Test (Blood drawn at Lab) after 30 days (follow up) and it came back negative.

Does PreP suppress or hide the virus in an H.I.V (4th Generation) Test while taking Prep daily?

Is there any link between H.I.V and Neuropathy Please help!

I have all these stuck on my mind, and I can't get over of it. The more I think, more anxious and worried I get. These past three months have been so overwhelming.

Thank you.

Answer: 

Hello,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about a link between neuropathy symptoms and a possible HIV infection after engaging in mutual masturbation. From the information given, this scenario is determined to be No Risk (transmission of HIV is not possible in the given scenario).

The scenario mentioned above does not meet the three components of the Transmission Equation. Non-insertive masturbation, such as giving or receiving a hand job, is not considered a risky activity as it does not provide an HIV-containing bodily fluid direct access to the bloodstream (1).

It is true that neuropathy is one of the complications that could be caused by an HIV infection, but just because you are experiencing neuropathy symptoms does not mean it is because of an HIV infection (2). HIV infections are associated with many complications such as cognitive issues, cardiovascular disease, and other various disorders (3). It is important to note that these disorders can also occur without HIV infection. Since the scenario you described provides no risk for an HIV infection your symptoms may be due to anxiety or stress (as you mentioned), or maybe an underlying condition (such as your diagnosis of plantar fasciitis) to be further discussed with your physician.

Since you are taking daily oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PreP) the risk of acquiring HIV through penetrative sex is reduced by ~90%, and no risk of acquiring HIV through mutual masturbation (as described) remains (4). In regards to the testing you received, a 4th Generation test is considered conclusive by most HIV specialists 6 weeks post-exposure. Some physicians and guidelines recommend re-testing after 12 weeks for completely conclusive results, but since the scenario you mentioned is no risk there is no need for testing based on the information provided.

Recommendation: No need for an HIV test with the scenario provided, refer to a physician for other health related questions.

Regards,

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Marie