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Giddiness, cold, vomiting. Had oral sex. Taking ibuprofen, paracetamol. Could it be HIV?

Sep 2012
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Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2008
Answered : 1416 Questions
Hi, I am going out of my mind with worry. At the beginning of March (3rd) I was on holiday in Thailand. After getting separated from my friends whilst we were out I believe my drink was spiked as I have no recollection of the evening, I remember having a sexual encounter with a man (I am gay) but have no idea what went on. I believe I would know if I had engaged in sexual intercourse with him, but cannot be 100% sure. To be honest I dont know! Even if it was oral sex I have read that there is a chance that it can be passed on in this way, through cuts etc in the mouth, and although I am not aware of any, I am now worried as on the days previous to the evening in question I had vomited on a few occasions because of something I had eaten. I have felt fine for the past three weeks but then last monday I began having symptoms of a cold, and feeling generally rotten and unwell (I must add that I am a flight attendant, and since coming back from Thailand I have yoyo'd across different time-zones, and then had been out on saturday all day and evening before being out all of sunday) Although I did not have a fever, aching joints etc I am worried that this was due to me taking ibuprofen and paracetamol regularly (several times a day) and also taking other cold and flu medicine. I havent suffered from diarrhea or feeling nauseas. I read that early symptoms can come with a rash and was checking my body and found a small piece of dry skin roughly 2-3cm by 1cm in size on my back. Its slightly raised and ligher in colour. It doesnt itch and the rational person in me says its a small area of dry skin- but im not thinking rationally at the moment! I have ached a little, but had put this down to generally being unwell. I think that reading google and online forums have made me stressed also. I am planning to get an HIV test tomorrow evening after work. But at the moment I am like a coiled-spring and something is telling me I have contracted the HIV virus!!! Help! Obviously no one knows until I get tested but am i worrying, making myself ill?! My main concern is that I damaged my oesophagus and then engaged in oral sex and have got infected that way! Also, the flu-like symptoms that are talked about- how severe are they??
Posted Sun, 21 Apr 2013 in HIV and AIDS
Answered by Dr. Das Arindam 3 hours later

Thank you for posting a query.

After going through your description I have found that you are worrying too much. And, yes, to an extent, you are definitely making yourself ill.

But I can understand your situation. Anyone in your position can do this. This is quite natural. But, what is the benefit of worrying too much?

You cannot remember, what you have done on that day. You are more concerned about oral sex. But, you cannot tell with guarantee that you have not done any sexual intercourse. For your information, anal sex is more XXXXXXX than oral sex.

Regarding the oral sex, if you were the passive person, then there is very low chance of transmission. If you were the active person, there are fair chances of transmission.

So? You cannot change anything. It is better to deal the situation sportingly. You have to believe that you were exposed to HIV infection.

Now, what you have to do?

Stop reading Google. Go to a laboratory. Do a HIV ELISA test tomorrow. Wait for the report. Then consult with a general physician first for further management accordingly.

Here, I have some information for you. In early days of seroconversion, the most prominent and consistent clinical finding is lymphadenopathy. You have not mentioned any such findings. Moreover, your present symptoms are really very vague, that cannot definitely tell that you have HIV infection.So, stop worrying.

Again a good news is that now-a-days,there are so many drugs that can increase life span of a HIV infected person.

So, do not think about what you have done. Think about the future.

But I know, that this is easy to say. But difficult to do. But, you have to try it.

Regarding the tests, if ELISA test becomes noncontributory, western blot test is the gold standard. A p24 protein assay can also give the clear picture of viral activity.

But do not take a negative test report as last word. Because in case of a negative report, you have to repeat the test at the end of 3rd and 6th month from the day of the event. This is because of the window period of HIV.

Lastly, do the test and consult with a general physician in person for a detailed clinical examination and further management accordingly.

Hope this information suffices. Let me know, if you have any more question.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Giddiness, cold, vomiting. Had oral sex. Taking ibuprofen, paracetamol. Could it be HIV? 54 minutes later
Hello Dr Arindam
Thanks for getting back to me. When you say passive and active what exactly do you mean. I believe I was the person giving oral sex do you mean in this way that I was the active person? What worries me is if there was any damage to my throat due to my sickness! I am going to get a test for sure on wednesday- as it is a bank holiday today I am unable to make an appointment and there is a late clinic on weds evening so I can go after work. As it stands I would rather know either way. Could the anxiety of this situation actually be making me worse? In that I mean I have been feeling cold, today and had a burning sensation in my neck and down the centre of my back. Athough when I pre occupy myself I feel this has eased a little. I HOPE I am worryong for nothing but as you say you never know. Please could you explain what lymphadenopathy is? my glands feel the same (I think) as they always do- in that I mean I have no swelling of glands in my groin armpits etc. I can feel them in my throat and under my chin (do they exist there?) but I dont know if that is how they always are or if I am now telling myself they are swollen. How severe is the flu like symptoms people talk about- I mean I haven't felt that bad, ie like Ive had to spend time in bed etc and I havent had a temperature, but then I have been taking paracetamol and ibuprofen- which, I presume would have an effect on a fever?? Ive had no loss of appetite, weight loss, I have woken up the last two mornings with a damp pj top from sweat- is that categorized as night sweats that I read about. I know the only way to know is to do the test, but anymore info you can give me would greatly assist me. Having had no contact with this before I am only going on what I read- I can see that self-diagnosing without facts is XXXXXXX but it has become like an obsession, and is making me hysterical! In reality do most people suffer from symptoms during seroconversion- i find you read one thing and then there is something else that can contradict it. Could this hysteria be making me feel more ill? ie sore neck etc. I just need as much information as you have! Thank you Dr for getting back to me also.
all the best
Also... I understand that lymphadenopathy generally talks about swollen glands. when you speak of glands WHERE should I be looking. Should one be able to feel glands in the throat. Would I know if I had swollen glands?? Thanks
Answered by Dr. Das Arindam 7 hours later

Thank you for writing back.

Look, your obsession is making your situation worse. There is no doubt. But as i have told you, anyone in your situation will do that. But, you have to understand that thinking of a disease, making self diagnosis will not give you any extra advantage. The test is the thing that will tell you what you actually have.

So, first of all, stop this obsession. Stop reading peoples experience. It will make the situation worse. Because, when you are are reading about some symptoms, you can find everything in you.

Now, from your description, you were the active person during the oral sex. And, yes, you have some chances to get the disease.

Lymphadenopathy means enlarged lymph nodes over cervical or axillary region or in inguinal region.

Your description does not indicate any enlarged lymph node. You have told about the normal lymph nodes. For confirmation, you have to visit a doctor for clinical examination.

Look, in our clinical experience we have some patients without any symptoms. On the other hand we have some patients with critical condition. So, the symptoms are varied. No one can say anything with guarantee without the report.

Flu like symptoms is found in acute seroconversion. But it is not specific for only HIV. It can be found in other conditions also.

Most probably your description indicates about night sweats. But, as i have told you that it is not specific.

So, it will be better not to making diagnosis yourself. Visit a doctor. You can do the test first and then also you can consult the doctor.

Lastly, no information is specific for HIV. It will be better to stop thinking about this disease.

Hope you have your answers.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Giddiness, cold, vomiting. Had oral sex. Taking ibuprofen, paracetamol. Could it be HIV? 1 hour later
Thank you dr. I guess I just have to wait and see. I hope my anxiety does not bring on any other condition caused by anxiety or stress. Best regards.
Answered by Dr. Das Arindam 7 hours later

Thank you for writing back.

Yes. You should stop worrying too much.

Wait for the result.

Best of luck.

Hope you have your answers.

If you do not have any more questions then you can close this discussion.

Rating and review given by you will be appreciated.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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