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I've been very concerned about my HIV status since I last had sex with a known HIV positive woman and the condom burst. I experienced muscle pain in the next 2 weeks after that. A week later I had diarrhoea for a day. Now, nearly 9 weeks post-exposure. I'm experiencing some oral ulcers, A somewhat swollen gland in the tonsil region and general pain in the lymh nodes in the armpits. I'm also experiencing some chills in the night. Body temparature rise to nearly 37 degrees celsius when my normal is about 36.1. I have done the 3rd generation antibody test at 9 weeks which came back negative but I'm really concerned about the symptoms I have been experiencing. Is this typical of ARS or do ARS symptoms come around the same time and don't last this long. Please help as I am freaking out and running into a panic. Also, I want to find out if extreme anxiety can lead to immuno depression and cause symptoms typical of primary HIV disease?

Hi, thanks for your questions. First it can be reassuring to know that if the woman who has HIV is on HIV medications that have reduced the HIV viral load in her blood to undetectable, then HIV cannot be transmitted to you. U=U Undetectable is Untransmittable. The negative antibody test that you did at 9 weeks post contact is reassuring. To completely cover the window period, testing at 12 weeks is recommended. At the same time, consider testing for syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea so you can be sure of your health status. Symptoms of HIV often do not appear until several years have passed so many people do not know they have HIV unless they do testing. The most common symptoms would be a severe flu like illness within the month of contact. This seroconversion illness makes people sick enough to not be able to work and have to go to the hospital. It is not a mild cold. The symptoms you describe can be caused by other viruses or bacteria and it would be recommended to discuss the swollen lymph glands, armpit pain, chills and change in temperature with your doctor who can do a physical assessment and order other tests if needed.

Being anxious and worried can also bring on a variety of symptoms but they do not change the HIV test result which so far has been negative for you. Please write back if you have any further questions. 

This answer was posted on August 24, 2018

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