Bell's Palsy

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    Dec 31, 2008 6:11 PM GMT
    A guy I know suddenly came down with Bell's Palsy. I read that it can be caused by HIV virus. I know he is bi. Should I tell him what I know so that he can get tested?
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    Dec 31, 2008 6:58 PM GMT
    Was the diagnosis made by a doctor? If so, then I would expect the doctor had blood work done to check for possible causes, including HIV. Bell's can appear without HIV being present, as well, and in fact was a recognized condition prior to the spread of HIV.

    There are some limited treatments that are most effective during the first 10 days following initial onset of symptoms, so if he hasn't yet seen a doctor, encourage him to do so immediately. I see no reason for you to raise the HIV issue, which the doctor should do.

    Bell's symptoms sometime spontaneously disappear without any treatment, which I hope your friend experiences. But he should not count on that, and again I suggest you urge him to seek an immediate medical evaluation, if he hasn't already done so.
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    Dec 31, 2008 7:14 PM GMT
    Red_Vespa is right, it can occur spontaneously and then disappear spontaneously. I've only met 3 people who have been affected by it spontaneously and they have all been young women, including my sister. She got it when she was in high school when I was a little boy. It then cured itself over time. Hopefully this is the case with your friend's diagnosis. But, obviously suggest to him to get tested anyways... it's always good to get tested.... gay, straight, bell's palsy, no palsy. Just try to be there for him when/if he does get tested. Best of luck.
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    Dec 31, 2008 8:04 PM GMT
    Yeah, he was seen by a doctor. They first thought he was having a stroke and spent the night in the hospital. I'm not so sure a doctor would ask that all important question especially to a married man. Bell's Palsy could be brought on by a variety of viruses including chicken pox. But, here is a man who has had sexual relations with other men. If the doctor didn't bring it up and my friend hasn't done the same research that I have, I would think he would want to know that he may have been exposed to HIV and would want to get tested. I know that if I were in his position, I would welcome the concern of a friend.
  • theatre_geek

    Posts: 35

    Dec 31, 2008 9:09 PM GMT
    I would suggest you let him deal with the Bells Palsy first, In a few weeks (depending on how his recovery is going_ maybe you can bring up the subject of blood tests and see if they did a test when he was in the hospital. See if they found out what may have caused it.

    Basically, be sensitive. A good friend of mine was diagnosed with Bells last year and he had a hard time dealing with it. The last thing he would have wanted right then was to have someone imply that maybe he has HIV as well.

    Let him deal with one thing at a time.
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    Dec 31, 2008 9:34 PM GMT
    I hope your friend makes as close to a full recovery as possible.

    I know a few people that have had bell's palsy, and the doctor's have to run tests to rule out or figure out what is causing the facial paralysis. But they will rely on symptoms if they think it was a passed virus. Most of the causes of are epstein-barr related.... so they will test for herpes and mono... or chicken pox related... but rarely is it HIV.

    I would try not to worry, but he should get tested specifically for HIV just to be safe.
  • cowboyathlete

    Posts: 1346

    Dec 31, 2008 9:42 PM GMT
    Bell's Palsy can be related to many things, not simply HIV:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell's_palsy#Virus_reactivation

    By the way, "HIV virus" is redundant, like saying "4 AM in the morning."
  • speedoguy53

    Posts: 124

    Dec 31, 2008 9:47 PM GMT
    I had Bell's Palsy about 25 yrs ago. I just woke up one morning and there it was. It could seem like one has had a stroke...I woke up with 1/2 of my face basically parilyzed...my mouth drooped on one side, my eye on that side would not shut, I could not blink it and my speech was slurred. I went to a walk-in immediately and they made the diagnosis. There was nothing they could do for it...the virus attacks the nerves on one side and the only thing that heals them is time. It took a few months but eventually things returned to normal. In the meantime, I had to wear an eye patch to bed to close my eye and drink through a straw so I wouldn't drool...how attractive, huh?! Anyway, I owned a restaurant at the time....When hosting people would ask me if I had just had some dental work done because of the way I would say, "good evning, how many in yo pawty?" I responded by saying 'no, that I had bells pawsy" I felt like the proud poster child. It is caused by some sort of virus...I can remember having a bad earache the day before. Rumor has it Ralph Nader got it by falling asleep on an airplane with his head against the cold window??? I've never heard it being associated with HIV.....I'm tested and negative. Good luck too your friend. It's not a serious thing but could be uncomfortable
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    Dec 31, 2008 9:53 PM GMT
    Bell's Palsy can be caused by a number of things, including some kind of infection such as HIV or Eppstein Barr Virus. It can also develop from irritation such as a cold breeze in the ear (ie sleeping under an AC vent) which is more common. As it is believed to be at least in part an inflammatory response, medications can be used to help relieve the cause, and if it is caught and relieved early enough then therapy may not be needed to retrain the muscles. Regardless, there is a good odds of full recovery.
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    Jan 05, 2009 4:28 PM GMT
    I am healthy and HIV-. I came down with Bell's Palsy a few years ago and it lasted for about a week until I was able to see a doctor. I had about 80% paralysis of one side of my face. With a prescription of steroid, it reduced the inflammation of my cranial nerve allowing a full recovery after only a few days.

    I was pretty afraid at first. I was sure that I would have to live with that for the rest of my life. Always check, because in some cases it is curable.