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Please Help This Has Caused Me A Lot

Question: 

Hi I hope you can shed some light to what I am experiencing now and I apologize for this wall of text. Allow me to go back form the very start. My ex-partner and I have been (both men) together for 1 year and 7 months. Just this March (2015) we often quarreled and it just feels like everything is going downhill because of this, I fell into the temptation of Grindr. Last March, I hooked up with a guy through Grindr. I am very turned off with guys with body odor hence I have to walk what I preach right? Before meeting up the guy, I brushed my teeth vigorously and flossed until a bit of blood can be seen in the thread. I also had several crack wounds on my lips. When we hooked up, there was no penetration involved. Everything was just oral, kissing, touching. When I gave him a blowjob, I did taste precum in my mouth since there was no protection (stupid of me). His body somehow felt "soft" like the skin is too loose and I saw two very red round boil-like bumps on his left arm pit and right back near the ribs. After one day, I had a fever. No rash, no colds, just fever. It lasted for 3 days. On the month of May, I started feeling very tired and out of breath and I mistook it as signs of stress or diabetes since I like eating sweets. On the month of July, my boyfriend had rashes on his forearms and we mistook it as insect bites. When the rashes on his arms disappeared, bumps filled with waterlike fluid sprung on the back of his hands. His nails also had "holes". This was when we decided that he should get tested. Surprise, he was positive of HIV. I also did the test but negative (this was 4 months from my exposure with the guy I met thru Grindr). We thought that it was impossible for me to test negative since we have NEVER used protection (me being top). Our last sex was May, which makes the test 2 months after my last exposure with my positive partner.

He decided to break up with me last September. On the month of October I got tested again but the result is still negative. This is 7 months from my exposure with Grindr Guy and 5 months from my exposure with exboyfriend. Now it's been a year since my exposure with Grindr guy, and I am loosing muscle on my arms, white tongue, extreme fatigue, it looks like my skin tone is the same all through out my body including those that are not exposed to the sun, ring worms near my mouth and neck (similar to positive exbf), enlarge and swollen lymph nodes on my neck and pits, mouth ulcers, dandruff, plantar warts and shortness of breath and I now have started coughing and has the need to constantly clear the throat because it feels like a phlegm is always stuck in there.

I don't know what to do anymore. I feel like I have infected my BF with HIV which I got from Grindr guy. However, I do not understand why my results are still negative despite very obvious HIV symptoms. The test they used on me by the way is SD Bioline HIV test. I am going crazy because I'm scared that it's too late for meds to work on me because they can't detect the virus early. I should already be way outside the window period right? Do I still need to test again? Are there people who do not seroconvert? The timing of these symptoms are just a little funny.

Answer: 

Hi there, thanks for contacting the AIDS Vancouver helpline with your HIV related questions/concerns. We're happy to help!

I'm sorry to hear that this situation has been causing you a great amount of stress, I hope my answer will bring you some relief!

With acute HIV infection, the symptoms are very vague and mimic other viral infections such as the flu. For this reason, we tend to focus only on test results, as that's the only way to be certain of your HIV status. From what I understand, you've had several tests that were all negative, up until 5 months after the last possible exposure. HIV tests are conclusive at 12 weeks post exposure (84 days, just under 3 months). THere are only 4 cases where testing is extended past this point and they are:

  • if you're on antiviral treatment for Hepatitis C

  • If you're being treated for cancer (with chemotherapy)

  • If you're on PEP for HIV

  • If you have an immunodeficiency disease (you would know, these are serious and are usually diagnosed during infancy or childhood)

If these apply to you, testing may be necessary for Up to 6 months. If not, then 12 weeks is still the conclusive window for test results.

So that being said, it seems like your tests are definitely conclusive. Unfortunately, we are just volunteers here, and we're not doctors, so I don't have much to say or comment about the persistent symptoms you've been experiencing. I suggest that you partner with a doctor, as they will have greater insight into other causes for these symptoms, and will be able to help you find relief from them.

I just want to note, that even if your partner is HIV+, you won't necessarily acquire HIV. THis website outlines the specific risks associated with an exposure to HIV+ unprotected sex: http://www.catie.ca/en/pif/summer-2012/putting-number-it-risk-exposure-hiv. The line that is most relevant to you reads:

"No meta-analysis estimates currently exist for insertive anal sex (inserting the penis into the anus, also known as topping) but two individual studies were conducted to calculate this risk. The first, published in 1999, calculated the risk to be 0.06% (equivalent to one transmission per 1,667 exposures).2 However, due to the design of the study, this number likely underestimated the risk of HIV transmission. The second study, published in 2010, was better designed and estimated the risk to be 0.11% (or 1 transmission per 909 exposures) for circumcised men and 0.62% (1 transmission per 161 exposures) for uncircumcised men."

I'm sorry that we couldn't help you further, but I hope that this information has been useful to you.

Sincerely,

Christina

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online
helpline.aidsvancouver.org
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