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I had sex with a HIV+ woman (found out afterwards) three weeks ago.

She was on top. We used condom. After ejaculation I didn't stop and my penis shinked and when she stood up, the condom stick in her vagina with 1/4 outside (don't know whether it slipped off before withdrawal). I used toilet paper to rub my penis and put on underwears (did not wash). After 15 minutes I suddenly realized that it is unsafe and I took shower twice (too late I know). Is it risky??

After two weeks I experienced several symptoms: 1) joint and muscle ache (from Day 7 to now, fingers/elbows/knees/wrists/toes, clear but bearable); 2) fever come and go (37-37.5C, usually in the afternoon and before sleep); 3) nightsweat without fever; 4) diarrhea once; 5) some pain on the back of my neck; and 6) chill. Symptoms become severe in this past week. Are they ARS?

Please help!! I am so worried that I caught HIV.

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replied March 13th, 2007
HIV & AIDS Answer A2417
According to your description of the sexual contact it doesn’t seem that you participated in risky sexual behavior.

AIDS-related complex (ARC) does not occur so soon after a possible infection with HIV. ARC occurs after the acute phase and the phase without symptoms (asymptomatic phase). Further, AIDS-related complex occurs before opportunistic infections take charge of the body (AIDS-phase). The time it takes for ARC to manifest is strictly individual. ARC is a sign that the immune system has started to break down. AIDS-related complex manifests with a constantly increased body temperature, night sweating, weight loss, unexplainable chronic diarrhea, skin rash, swollen lymph nodes, herpes zoster, oral Candida-infections etc.

Your symptoms could be part of the initial HIV-infection symptoms (acute phase). Those symptoms are: fever, swollen lymph nodes, rash, headache, tiredness, nausea, diarrhea, night sweating, muscle and joint pain, vomiting etc. In many people, the symptoms of the initial HIV infection are never felt. Even if those symptoms occur, they are so similar to symptoms of many other infections that it's not possible for doctors to assume HIV-infection as the cause.

The acute phase of HIV passes spontaneously and a person quietly proceeds to the next phase without symptoms (asymptomatic phase). During the asymptomatic phase, a person can live and work normally and he feels healthy. But after a various period of time (months or even years) a person continues into the ARC-phase of the illness, described previously.

AIDS-related complex soon transforms in "full-blown" AIDS when opportunistic infections, encephalopathy and some types of tumors occur. Opportunistic infections are caused by various microbes that don't normally cause disease an uninfected person, or can normally be easily overcome. But due to a suppressed immune systems, it is opportunistic infections ,in fact, that kill people who contract the HIV virus.

The only secure way to diagnose an HIV-infection is to take a test that proves that anti-HIV antibodies are in the blood. Usually antibodies can’t be detected during the initial (acute) phase of the illness. The immune system usually needs 6-10 weeks to start creating antibodies (seroconversion) against HIV. That’s why you will have to do another test after 3 months. Before seroconversion, HIV-infection can be proven by detecting the antigen p24 in the blood or by proving the HIV presence in cells from lymph nodes by using the "PCR-technique". You can follow up with your primary health provider.

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