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    An_247772 posted:
    I am a lab assistant from a south asian country(would not wanna name it). I have been dealing with questions about this disease several times. All this while, our thumb rule was if the test after 3 months is negative, your negative. This was simple enough for us, as we are not trained counselors/ doctors.
    However, right now I am in a situation to know more about this myself as a friend of mine has had a potential exposure and according to the paper he his safe. He has been tested with a couple of Antibody and combo assays and a western blot for type I. All this have been negative till month 18. I have persistently been telling him he is fine.
    However, he keeps complaining about symptoms (like any other person fearing of this disease) and is practically pulling himself down every day. So, I think its time for me to have certain doubts of mine cleared so that I can spread these facts to him and make him understand. The following are my questions:
    1) I am decently familiar with the symptoms of this disease. But the doubt is when would these appear. I know that the symptoms are flu like in the acute stage. But I dun know till how many weeks/months from the exposure is it called acute stage?
    2) In the late stage, or post acute stage some websites say the person might not at all experience any symptoms for a long time, but others are not the explicit in explaining this. So, After the initial stage, the person is likely to experience series symptoms like Oral candida, only after it converts into AIDS? or it can happen even before. What are the average chances/statistics.

    3) Though its the continuation of the same question, this being important wanted to ask separately. How many years on an average would it take for this disease to show symptoms? CAN YOU KINDLY PROVIDE SOME SOLID LINK FOR THIS FOR MY STUDY PURPOSE AND PASSING IT ON TO PEOPLE AS WELL.
    4) This is in specific to my friend. He complains of head aches, fevers, throat pains, oral and tongue sores/lesions (Not outstandingly alarming as I inspected). All this after an year. Anything to be concerned. I know these are acute stage symptoms. Can it extend to post acute stage also?

    I would be extremely thankful, if you can help me with these doubts.
    Warmest Regards
    georgiagail responded:
    1. ARS shows up with flu like symptoms 2 to 6 weeks after transmission

    2. In an untreated individual it takes roughly about a decade to move from HIV to AIDS. At that point the immune system has been severely damaged and serious symptoms begin to develop. Until then it is unusual to show any symptoms.



    Like many, your friend appears to focus far too much on what he considers symptoms and ignores test results that clearly indicate he is HIV negative. Many who post here do that. Interestingly stress over worrying about a disease one does not have can cause symptoms such as headache, eye strain, body aches, fatigue from lack of sleep, poor appetite, stomach pains, diarrhea, constipation etc..

    It's ironic because this tends to only provide more "evidence" to the person concerned about this that they must be HIV positive.

    It's important for those who are overly concerned about their status that testing trumps symptoms EVERY TIME.

    An_247772 replied to georgiagail's response:
    Dear Gail

    Thanks for such an elaborate explanation. I went through the link and should say am a little more familiar about the symptoms and the disease itself. But, have a couple more which I got while I was reading them

    1) So, if I understand its very less chance that a person in late stage HIV to show symptoms. Only he turns AIDS he shows up noticeable symptoms, right? If so, a few people told me 3-4 years is the time. Does it happen so soon?, I mean even if possible theoretically what about case by case/statistically?

    2) The yeast infections. Again w.r.t my friend, he does have a coated tongue (not highly alarming), complains of difficulty in swallowing and pricking throat etc.. I myself am a little concerned whether he could possibly have yeast infection. Frm my explanation of symptoms, does it really sound like a yeast infection to you? Kindly throw some light.

    3) Also, does this disease give out any sores/lesion kind on the tongue, reddish which burns. It comes and goes for him on his own. This I myself observed.

    4) Pardon me if its redundant, the webmd link has only one line about the duration to show symptoms. Any other link you recommend with more info?

    5) Above all, I dont know whether I am allowed to ask this, though nothing can be 100% guaranteed in medicine, has there been cases of false negatives of these tests taken after waiting enough time and the person succumbing to this disease after a few years down the lane? Kindly dont mistake me to be pessimistic, just asking.
    georgiagail replied to An_247772's response:
    On the average, it takes a decade to move from HIV to AIDS (in an untreated individual). There are slow progressors and those who move quicker into the last stage. Since the virus attacks the immune system, someone who has a history of poor nutrition for, say, being homeless or heavy substance abuse is already putting extra pressure on their immune system and it is possible they might move more quickly into this last stage.

    The bottom line in terms of your other questions...HIV screening is typically easy and highly accurate. You state your friend has had a "couple" of tests. What do you think are the chances of all these tests being in error?

    Testing has shown that your friend is HIV negative and if they continue to worry excessively about this disease, they probably need to consider some counseling to accept the good news regarding their status.

    An_247772 replied to georgiagail's response:
    Dear Gail

    Thanks for your advise. Yes, I think its high time he takes this up with a counsellor or I help him in getting over this mental issue. I understand its not longer in his body, but in his mind. I was a little worried when he was so concerned and was complaining about lots of health issues. He is one of a very healthy guy other wise. Hence, I was puzzled for sometime. Now, I am clear. Last question, which I wanted to reconfirm is:

    1) So, the symptoms like fever, head aches, lymph nodes swelling etc.. that Webmd mentions to be possibly appearing from 2-6 weeks, can keep occurring throughout to the advance stage also? or is it ONLY characteristic of acute stage. And these are what u termed as ARS symptoms? I think u gave a one word answer for this as "NO", but still to clarify myself.

    Thanks a million Gail
    georgiagail replied to An_247772's response:
    The flu like symptoms are limited to the ARS stage. After this stage there tends to be NO symptoms connected to HIV for a signficant amount of time.

    This is why there are many people walking around who are HIV positive and are unaware of their status.

    An_247772 replied to georgiagail's response:
    Thanks Gail. Understood. This will be my last post. When you say FLU like symptoms I could imagine fever, headaches and body pains. But, I am actually not that familiar with this lymph nodes swelling. These last two questions will be on that:

    1) Does this occur only for this disease, or it can occur for people in general also? Like even an allergy can give a lymph node swelling? Is it chronic or any person can develop at anytime?

    2) And this swelling of nodes is also confined mainly to the Acute stage? or can occur anytime during the course?

    georgiagail replied to An_247772's response:
    Lymph nodes tend to swell whenever there is an insult to the body. For example a cold or allergies can cause swelling and tenderness.

    Lymph nodes in the neck are close to the surface of the skin. They can be felt even under normal circumstances. This does not mean they are swollen due to illness. Poking at them also tends to cause them to become sensitive and swell.

    An_247772 replied to georgiagail's response:
    Oh Thanks. So does it pose any difficulty in swallowing or any other impact on the throat area, like swollen tonsuils etc.. ?


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