going cuckoo

Originally Posted: 
Thursday, April 5, 2012


Here's the situation: Unprotected vaginal for about 10 min. with a stranger of unknown status. Already an idiot, I know. Three weeks later following symptoms: bad nausea and vomiting, headache, slight lymph nodes, bad foot and hand swelling and serious joint pain arms and legs fell asleep really easily, really strange dry skin that was almost like the top layer was ready to slough off ... weird and I've never seen it before. Tested negative with blood draw in ON at 1 month. I don't know if that means 3rd or 4th gen.

Persisting symptoms have been loss of weight, tingling of extremities now eye floater sore neck lymph nodes although I don't feel swelling, burning under arm pits, but no swelling, headache. Recently, 3, 4and 5 month results negative. I'm sure you can see why I'm untrusting of the results. Could I be an outlier? Could I be late to convert? Thanks you



Hello and Thank You for Using AIDS Vancouver as your source of HIV/AIDS related information.


Getting tested after your exposure was wise, as unprotected sex is considered a high risk activity for passing HIV and other STIs. The first blood-draw test you received was most likely a 3rd generation ELISA test, as this is the most commonly available testing method however 4th Generation tests are becoming more widely available in Ontario, so the generation largely depends on your location in the province. Assuming it was a 3rd Generation test, this test is very accurate; up to 95% of infections are detectable within 4-6 weeks and the test's overall accuracy rate is 99.8% anytime after 12 weeks. If you happened to have a 4th Generation test, than this has a 99.9% accuracy rate anytime after 6 weeks.


The negative results at 3,4,and 5 months are considered conclusive. All of these tests confirm that do not currently have HIV. If you do not have a diagnosed immunodeficiency disorder, or are currently undergoing invasive treatments (antiretroviral medications, chemotherapy etc) then it is highly unlikely that you are a late seroconverter.  It is a very common feeling that you are the exception to the rule, that you an outlier however given your multiple negative test results, many of which were at or after the window period, you can be assured by your repeatedly negative results.


You mentioned that you are distrusting of your results because of the range of symptoms you are experiencing. I am certain that something else (maybe stress or another pathogen) is responsible for the symptoms. Because many infections have similar symptoms, it may be a good idea to talk to a Doctor about them so that they can find out what the culprit is. Nausea, vomiting, headache, swollen lymph nodes, bad foot/hand swelling, dry skin and joint pain cannot be used to diagnose an HIV infection and so, if these symptoms persist, please consider partnering with a health care professional you trust to determine the true cause. To read more about HIV Symptoms, please check out this link: http://www.aidsvancouver.org/get-informed/faq/what-are-symptoms-hiv-infection-0


One last note: if you haven't been tested for other STI's such as Syphilis, Gonorrhea, and Chlamydia, then it may be a good idea to do this as well. We recommend this to everyone who is sexually active for their well-being and the safety of their partners.


Please do not hesitate if you have any other questions or concerns,


In Health,


AIDS Vancouver Helpline Volunteer

E-mail: helpline@aidsvancouver.org

Phone (Mon-Fri 9-4pm): (604) 696-4666

Web: www.aidsvancouver.org/helpline



Submitted by jack (not verified) on

i had the same symptoms like everything you said and i think if iam not mistaking its herpes do the std test and i hope its negative.
good luck

Submitted by monicaf on

Hi there & thanks for your comments and input. 

If you are not a medical professional, I would encourage you not to self-diagnose or diagnose others based on self-described symptoms alone. 

Testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is generally recommended anytime after 3 weeks post exposure so that the infection has enough time to develop to a detectable level however, window periods for testing of STIs can vary depending on the particular infection you are concerned about. 

Herpes (HSV) is most accurately diagnosed with a swab test, done at the time of an outbreak. If you currently do not have any legions or itchy sores then it would not be a good time to get tested for HSV. HSV testing is typically done by taking a swab of the outbreak, which is then sent to a lab for diagnostics. On average, an outbreak will occur 6 days after infection. 

Please let us know if there is anything else we can help you with.

In Health,
AIDS Vancouver Helpline

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The AIDS Vancouver Helpline is a volunteer-driven information, referral and support service related to HIV and sexual health. Volunteers are trained in active listening, HIV and sexual health information, and local resources and services. Volunteers are not doctors, nurses, or other licensed professionals. Volunteers do not give advice, and strive to provide service-users with adequate information and appropriate referrals.

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