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Old 09-26-2011, 11:02 PM   #1
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Exclamation Very worried... a long story.

Hi All,

First may I say that the work you do on this site is fantastic and I am sure it provides a huge amout of reassurance to many ppl, myself included. Secondly may I apologise for the potential rambling nature of this post! I will try to be as succinct as possible.

I have a long term girlfriend of 4 years. Around 14 weeks ago I (stupidly) had unprotected vaginal intercourse with a girl who I had recently become friends with.

She had told me on numerous occasions that she had just come out of a long term relationship (I am confident this is true) and had not had sex for 6 months (I have begun to question this). We slept together twice, on consecutive nights before she returned home from her working vacation. Both times were relatively short.

As is the usual story I felt some anxiety/guilt after these events and I had also experienced some discomfort at the tip of my penis, and so around 2-3 weeks later was tested at the GUM clinic for everything (including a HIV 4th Generation test). Despite being treated for a potential NSU (the nurse found some inflammation) all my results returned negative. I therefore informed my girlfriend of the NSU as we had had unprotected sex since the event (again extremely reckless and stupid and I did not tell her the potential reason for it and obviously this was awkward), she was treated also and I tried to forget about the whole event.

Around 5-6 weeks after the event I noticed a small flesh coloured lump on the tip of my penis which had not been there previously. I was concerned this may be a wart and so monitored this for a couple of weeks before visiting a different GUM clinic for their opinion. I was told this was just a skin tag and not to worry - however while I was there I also tested again for HIV as I had been advised my original test would not be completely accurate when it was taken. This test was a simple antibody test and returned negative again (at 8 weeks after the event).

The reason for my post is as follows; since a few days before this 8 week test was taken I have experienced a variety of symptoms which have caused me to continue to be concerned about HIV. 
Around the 7.5 week mark (a few days prioir to the test) I began to experience pain at the base of my neck and some raised painless non-itchy red spots appeared on my legs and arms.
This general neck/upper back pain has continued in varying levels through to now. In week 11 my neck was so stiff that I could not straighten my head up or look fully to the left for a few days before calming down again. The red spots have also continued through to this point. I have experienced them almost everywhere but predominately on my neck, shoulders and chest. (I do not want to give the impression this is too severe, but I would say I have seen around 25 spots in this time which have stayed for a couple of days at a time, then disappeared)
I do not believe I have had a fever however I have had one instance of night sweats (soaking my sheets through) in week 12. Also in weeks 11-12 I experienced a sore throat (lasting around 3/4 days) and a severe outbreak of mouth ulcers (I tend to get these sometimes but not as many as this time and not on my tongue as in this case - these also disappeared all at once after a few days). Finally I also bave swollen glands in my neck. I would say I have noticed these since around week 11 (but perhaps this has been causing my neck pain?) and they are up and down and still feel a little large now. I have not noticed any swelling of note in my armpits or groin.

Clearly this has been causing me a great deal of concern and so I have not really slept properly in over 6 weeks and I am extremely anxious. I have therefore as far as possible tried to attribute my symptoms to this lack of sleep and stress (I am also very tired (obviously!) and do not have my usual appetite and have lost around 5 lbs). I have also noticed a correlation sometimes of hearing about a symptom and then I experience it - I am hoping I am therefore perceiving some things which are not there.

In addition to this my anxiety has been heightened as my girlfriend has had a flu-like illness (hopefully flu) in this time, has mentioned neck pain, mouth ulcers, tiredness and I have also noticed red spots in similar areas on her body. (You will be glad to know I have been using protection with my gf ever since my concern grew around this but I really fear it may be too late) Finally, I have seen that around the same time I began to experience my neck pain the Swedish girl has had Facebook statuses complaining of neck pain and a fever - when I asked her about this she did not come back to me and has been ignoring me since I mentioned my concern.

Currently I am (still!) waiting for the outcome of a 4th generation test at 11.5 weeks - I expect the results over the next couple of days. However I was hoping you may be able to help me through this time by letting me know in your experience how concerned should i be by all of this and what are your thoughts on my situation? (At the moment i could not be much more worried)

Have you known "ARS" (if indeed this is what this is) symptoms to arrive so late into the 12 week window and continue for such a long time? I have not been diagnosed with any kind of immune disorder etc and to my knowledge (and hopefully still) I am perfectly healthy.

Have you ever known ARS symptoms to present so sporadically? I have read that they should present all together and take the form of an "illness" (where they present at all).

I have read that modern 3rd Gen tests should be 99% accurate at 6 weeks, and have seen many of you say an 8 week result will not change. This gives me huge encouragement as my negative test was at 8 weeks (this was an NHS test - will this have been 3rd Gen?) but should I be concerned that the symptoms I have presented have been mostly after this 8 week result I had? Would this have an impact and mean that I may not have shown at this point?

Finally - I was told that my blood results would take 2 wks to come back and I am now beyond this period. Should I be concerned about the length of time it is taking the lab to come back? I always assume that if you are to get bad results from a blood test the lab tend to come back alot quicker than the time they say they will, is this your experience? (The clinics I have been to tell me they usually hear about a positive result within a couple of days? I know this is nothing certain but might ease my mind over the next couple of days)

I know symptoms prove nothing and test results prove everything and hopefully this week I will find out that all is well but I am only just able to function at the moment under all of this worry. I have tried consulting my doctor about the symptoms I have had but he will not assist in diagnosing anything or prescribing anything until I have results from this last test.

Many many thanks in advance for your support and feedback, it is so appreciated any information you can provide to help me understand my risk/what is happening would be gratefully received. I am sorry again for the prolonged background and would really appreciate a quick response.

Regards

D

 
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Old 09-27-2011, 09:48 AM   #2
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Re: Very worried...a long story.

To find out if your HIV concerns are true, get the person you had sex with take a rapid HIV test. It's your only best bet, but also HIV shouldn't be your concern, possibly another STD but not HIV. It's very hard to pass to another person. You were once deemed negative and most likely the other results negative too.

Anxiety will play tricks with your mind and maybe guilt is getting to you. Just relax and have a good time with your girlfriend for now. Sure other experts will chime in here, but goodluck to you and be safe in bed.

 
Old 09-27-2011, 10:10 AM   #3
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Re: Very worried...a long story.

Their is a lot to respond to, so i will try and keep to the important points which i hope will calm you doen and understand your situation.

Ars, will never go beyound 6 weeks unless you have a immune disorder, or have been on agressive chemo or a long term IV drug user. So the symptoms your having is fair to say not HIV realted.

Your symptoms are VERY typical of stress and anxity. I see them all the time here when people go through a lot of stress regarding HIV.

As for testing. A Duo ( 4th generation ) test is 99% conclusive at 4 weeks. These tests are so sensative, thats why they are now used by the NHS.

You test at 8 weeks is conclusive. HIV experts never see a negative test at 6 weeks turn positive. ( not with modern tests, although old versions did have ) So your test at 8 weeks after symptoms would certainly conclude your HIV negative in 99% of cases. 12 weeks 99.89%

As you have tested again, then wait for the results, but the gum clinic get them back within 2 -4 days, but they just use 2 weeks as a standard line. You can ring them up and they will tell you if your polite enough, but just expect negative results.

To add, its very unlikley she even has HIv anyway. Less than 1% of the population in the UK have HIV and a one time exposure runs in very high odds anyway.

Now the one issue that would be making you so very ill, is guilt. Its typical and common for most to have the same issues as yourself. Well buddy, we all make mistakes and cannot undo what is done, but you can move on with your life and put this behind you.
Your tests for std's are fine ( test again at 12 weeks for peace of mind if you so wish ) but their is no real need. Your HIV negative for sure, so please stop beating yourself up on guilt.

Hope that helps
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Last edited by Apollo123; 09-27-2011 at 10:49 AM.

 
Old 09-27-2011, 12:05 PM   #4
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Question Re: Very worried...a long story.

Thanks guys for coming back so quickly. I still haven't heard anything today so I will get in touch with the Clinic tomorrow to get a response.

For the record I have no concerns over other STDs as I have now tested negative twice for all of these. This is the last remaining issue. Also as I mentioned I have tried talking to the girl from Sweden but she will not respond to me after I told her of my concern and ultimately nothing she would say could make me sure anyway. I just need to get my result.

It's awesome that you say that my test at 8 weeks can be considered accurate. Just to be clear, this was an antibody test only - Apollo when you say that no experts have seen a negative result at 8 weeks change, does this relate to 3rd Generation tests or just the 4th Gen? And when I checked with my clinic as to the test that was used they only told me it was an antibody test - no mention of Generation. As this was in an NHS hospital, is it safe to assume it was 3rd Generation? (I had originally hoped it was 4th)

And it's really good to hear that ARS would not show any later than 6 weeks. I guess my concern was borne out of the fact that my test was at 8 weeks and I really only started to experience what I considered "symptoms" at 7 and a half weeks. So as my test was an antibody test at 8 weeks the antibodies may not have been present in enough numbers to show. Would when a person presented ARS impact this test? And just so I am clear, if ARS only presents in the first 4-6 weeks, what is the significance of the 12 week window? I only ask as obviously this is advised to everyone, not only those with immune deficiencies etc.

Thanks so much again for all your continued support.

D

 
Old 09-27-2011, 12:16 PM   #5
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Re: Very worried...a long story.

Ars tends to start from 2 - 6 weeks. Thats why many experts say a negative at 6 weeks and above is a very good indication of your status. Mondern tests are so sensative that 6 weeks is near enough conclusive 99%. That said you still need to test out to 12 weeks just to be 99.89% sure ( and for peace of mind ) The 12 weeks is the cdc guide lines and also what the tests are " manufactuered " to.
NHS use many tests but mainly 3rd generation and 4th, but you would have to ask them to which one.
The 8 weeks is for modern tests, 3rd and 4th generation. Of course its always possible that can happen, but more so if you have an health issue. In the main, take it your HIV negative and dont be amazed to see another negative coming your way.
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Old 09-27-2011, 12:38 PM   #6
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Question Re: Very worried...a long story.

Great. Thanks so much again.

Very finally, and I am not trying to look on the down side at all, but does that mean that 1st and 2nd Gen tests are still being used in some NHS tests?! This would be v suprising to me only a I read that there was a guideline published in 2008 that recommended the use on 4th Gen in all testing (is this right?!) and so as this was 3 years ago I thought it safe to assume that the tests used if not 4th would at least be 3rd?! (I know the only way to know for sure would be to ask them but I'd rather just focus on this last result than cloud my earlier one)

I will let you know how I get on and I hope that everything comes out the way you have helped me believe it should.

Regards

D

 
Old 09-27-2011, 02:02 PM   #7
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Re: Very worried...a long story.

Indeed you need to ask them directly, but its very unlikley. I dont think anyone uses them anymore, or if they are still manufactured. Most centres and hospitals around the world use 3rd and to a lesser extent 4th generation tests. Because the new tests are far better than the old, their is no good reason to use them and i must admit i dont know of any one that has used them recently.

Because of the testing you have had and that the other person was in the very low risk area, honestly from experience this result is just a formality.

I think the 2 weeks is over kill really, so you could go private and get tested, either with a HIV Rapid ( results within 10 minutes ) or have a DUO test and results within 24 hours. This is really incase you just dont want to wait.

Hope that helps buddy.
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Old 09-28-2011, 12:20 AM   #8
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Question Re: Very worried...a long story.

Hi Apollo and all,

Very quick update I rang my clinic just now and my tests for Hep C and Syphillis are back (both negative) and the only outstanding result is my HIV. It has now been nearly 3 wks since I gave my blood. So how concerned should I be by this?!

I would guess they do all tests at the same time so why would my HIV be the only one taking so long? They have told me there is "a backlog due to machinery and staffing issues" and to give a call back in a couple of days. At first they seemed suprised that I had experienced a delay at all though and surely if there were ongoing issues they would know that up front?!

Sorry if it seems like I'm freaking out (I am a little!) I just want this whole thing to be over.

Many thanks again,

Regards

D

 
Old 09-28-2011, 12:33 AM   #9
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Re: Very worried...a long story.

You are reading far too much into a very common and innocent incident. The staff that are processing your results will give them to you as soon as they get them. They have absolutely no reason to with hold them, regardless of the result. And they certainly would not hold back a positive result simply to spare your feelings.

They have been upfront and told you exactly why there is a delay and there is absolutely no reason to doubt what you have been told. When you get your result, you also have no reason to expect anything other than a negative result.

Kevin.

Last edited by blokecalledkev; 09-28-2011 at 12:33 AM.

 
Old 09-28-2011, 06:26 AM   #10
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Re: Very worried...a long story.

Hi Kevin and all,

Many many thanks again for your continued support and assistance. There have been further developments however;

I called the clinic again and they said that there was a note on my file from the lab, apologising forthe delay (there is a backlog) but that they have had to send my sample for further testing as protocol as one of the tests had shown up "weak reactive". The health advisor told me to come in as they would need to repeat my test as another part of the protocol.

Anyway having absolutely sh*t myself I got out of work and headed to the clinic. And the doctor there showed me the results in full. To be clear:

On my sample (taken at 11.5 weeks) they have done both a 3rd and 4th Generation test, the 3rd Generation test has come back "weak reactive" however the 4th Generation test (Genscreen ULTRA HIV Ag-Ab Assay) has come back negative. (This was also repeated as a result of the 3rd Gen result and showed as negative again.

Weirdly this has given me more certainty that I will be ok and I was hoping you could let me know what you think? As I have been told, at 4 weeks 4th Gen tests are 99.89% accurate. Given that I have had a repeated 4th Gen test at 11.5 weeks showing negative - surely I can take that as a clear sign I am negative? Particularly with the 8 week 3rd Generation result I had back negative at 8 weeks?

With regards to the "weak reactive" result on my 3rd Gen test, I am hoping this has picked up a reaction to a virus of some description I have had - how likely is this? I have been sure that my symptoms have not been all in my head, and while I'm happy to agree that maybe I have seen some things that aren't there I can't explain all my symptoms away.

Another sample has been taken from me, this is now week 14, and as I have been very anxious they have promised they will get back today (by 7pm). Obviously I will let you know what's happening but can you give me your thoughts at this stage?

Regards

D

 
Old 09-28-2011, 07:31 AM   #11
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Re: Very worried...a long story.

Its common for people who take a few tests to get some reaction to somthing. Out of a scale of 1- 100, 100 being bad, i rate yours as 1. Im sure it shuck you up a little but having tested again like they did and got negatives, then i would expect that to continue.
A test at 14 weeks, really would be cast iron guarantee in your HIV status, and when they come back im very sure it will be negative buddy. Just sit in the beer garden and have a drink and wait for the news
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Old 09-28-2011, 07:38 AM   #12
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Re: Very worried...a long story.

Thanks Apollo

Last edited by GoodiD; 09-28-2011 at 07:42 AM.

 
Old 09-28-2011, 07:40 AM   #13
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Question Re: Very worried...a long story.

Thanks Apollo.

As I say this was the 3rd Generation which showed weak reactive versus the two 4th Generations which showed nothing. Surely given the accuracy of the 4th Generations I can have almost complete faith in those at 11.5 weeks?

And I figured that as the 3rd Gen is less accurate it is more likely to pick up on other stuff (like the virus I am sure I've had) - is this a safe assumption?

Finally, given that this 3rd Gen was at the 11.5 week mark surely if there was a problem that wouldn't have just shown as a "weak reactive" but at this stage would have shown much more clearly?

Sorry to labour the point - just trying to make sure my thought process is sound as unfortunately I am out of beers! Hopefully I'll go for a few in celebration tonight.

Thanks again to all for your responses.

D

 
Old 09-28-2011, 07:53 AM   #14
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Re: Very worried...a long story.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodiD View Post
Thanks Apollo.

As I say this was the 3rd Generation which showed weak reactive versus the two 4th Generations which showed nothing. Surely given the accuracy of the 4th Generations I can have almost complete faith in those at 11.5 weeks?

Yes agreed.

And I figured that as the 3rd Gen is less accurate it is more likely to pick up on other stuff (like the virus I am sure I've had) - is this a safe assumption?

Again, a fair assumption.

Finally, given that this 3rd Gen was at the 11.5 week mark surely if there was a problem that wouldn't have just shown as a "weak reactive" but at this stage would have shown much more clearly?

More than likley, if you have been ill or had ARS, you will test positive, 99% of cases.

Sorry to labour the point - just trying to make sure my thought process is sound as unfortunately I am out of beers! Hopefully I'll go for a few in celebration tonight.

Get them on ice, im sure you will be.

Thanks again to all for your responses.

D
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Old 09-28-2011, 10:45 AM   #15
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Re: Very worried...a long story.

OK so the clinic got back in touch.

My test results (now at 14 weeks) have come back the same as the 11.5 week results. So that's 4th Generation test negative and a weak reactive on the 3rd Generation. They have sent the samples away for extra tests as a protocol but the health advisor has told me that that is proof that whatever is the problem that the 3rd Generation test has picked up on it's not HIV - I think a negative 14 week 4th Generation negative test is pretty iron clad!

So I have an appointment at the docs tomorrow to finally resolve whatever bug I have picked up but thanks to all of you for your support through this and I am taking all the good things from this experience that I can.

Thanks again,

D

 
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