HIV - Prevention Expert Forum
Need some professional advice Stat
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This forum is limited to prevention of HIV and to safe sex in general. All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

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Need some professional advice Stat

Hi Doc,

It has taken me about a year to write this letter. I never really thought about my situation until about 4 months ago. Let me start from the beginning. Last May I went to a batchlor party ( in AC) . The weekend was full of booze and girls. So being dumb and somewhat young the first night I had protected sex with one of the escorts we ordered. The next night the party went on it was the same type of night (lots of booze and trying to pick up the ladies). This is the part that worries me, I believe I slept with another escort because I found a condom in the bed the next morning (yes I was that drunk and only remember bits and pieces of the encounter) I believe it was protected but on 100%. From what I remember I didn't get sick after that weekend. No diarrhea, temp, sore throat etc.... Time went on and I didn't think of any STD's until I got shingles in November (6/7 months after possible exposure).  Around Xmas time  I got a really bad chest infection, lasted about 5 days and was put on antibiotics for the chest cold (virus?). After that I have felt a dull pain in my testicles  Now this past Feb I have developed want seems to be folliculitis. Pimples around the hair follicle. I have this on my scalp, a little on my face and about six hairs on my chest. I also seem to be getting more head aches than I remember, not everyday but they seem to come and go more often or maybe I am paying more attention to them. I also found tow lumps by my collar bone (lymphs?) they are not that big. .5cm When I looked up shingles and folliculitis on the web ( not a good I idea because now it has created all sorts of anxiety) it said these two aliments were signs of HIV. Thanks for letting me vent.

1. If one of the sex workers had HIV am I doomed?
2. Is folliculitis,seborrheic dermatitis and shingles determining factors.
3. Should I be worried about the lumps around my collar bone?
4. Should I be worried about the testicle pain? (comes and goes)  

Thanks,
  
239123_tn?1267651214
Welcome to the forum.  Thanks for your question.  I'm sorry to hear you have been worried for over a year.  (But I hope you don't mind if I comment that having waited a year, I don't quite understand the need for a "stat" response!)

In any case, there is no serious cause for worry.  First, sexual experiences described were not especially high risk; it is statistically unlikely any of the esocrts had HIV (for sure under 1% risk probably closer to 1 in 1,000, tops); and unprotected vaginal sex, if the woman is infected, carries an average transmission risk of once for every 2,000 exposures.

Second, despite what you think you found by online searching, your symptoms are not suggestive of HIV.  Shingles is indeed somewhat more common with HIV, but only in people with advanced AIDS (i.e. infected with HIV for a few years); and in any case, the vast majority of people with shingles don't have HIV.  I've had it myself, and so did my son at age 13.  No big deal.  As for folliculitis, that's an everyday problem in virtually all human beings at one time or another.

But the main issue here, it seems to me, is that you haven't mentioned HIV testing.  That's what you need.  Not because I believe you are really at risk; I definitely do not.  But the negative result will be far more reassuring than my analysis that you're at low risk.

Do not tell me you haven't tested because you fear the result.  I have no patience with such nonsense.  It isn't the test results that gives someone HIV.  You have it or you don't.  If you do, you have to know it in order to receive life-prolonging health care (and protect partners, if you are sexually active).  And research shows that when people fear diagnostic testing -- whether for HIV, or a mammogram or colonoscopy, or any other test for a life-threatening condition -- after testing stress and anxiety decline, even if the result is positive.  In other words, worry about the outcome is actually more stressful than a positive test result.

Those comments pretty well answer all four of your specific questions.  To be explicit, the answers are:

1) No, of course you're not doomed if one of the escorts had HIV.  You're not doomed even if you have HIV (which surely you do not); with modern health care, the life expectancy of people with HIV is barely lower than in uninfected persons.

2-4) None of these symptoms marks anyone as being at special risk of HIV infection.  All these are equally common in people with and without HIV.

I hope these comments have helped.  I'll be happy to comment furhter if you would like to return to let me know the result after you have had an HIV test.

Regards--  HHH, MD
5 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you so much. I have a doctors appointment in a week for a full physical and I will make sure they take a look at everything under the hood.

Should I be concerned about the lymph nodes around my collar bone and pain in my testicles? The node is only on the left side and there are two of them. they have been there for about three weeks.

Thanks again and if there is a donation I have make to a foundation you hold in high regards please let me know.

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239123_tn?1267651214
Neither vague testicular pain nor the small lumps near the collar bone (whether or not they are lymph nodes) are suggestive of HIV.

Thanks for the offer of a charitable donation.  Consider supporting the American Sexual Health Association, the main private nonprofit agency in support of STD prevention:  www.ashastd.org.
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Avatar_m_tn
Making donation today. Thanks again for the advice. I also forgot to mention in my description above, probably due to the 2000 character minimum, after my shingles episode which left a ring like marking after the shingles went away, I got a really stiff neck. It was hard to look to the left and right. Lasted about a week and a half. I still feel some stiffness time to time. It comes and goes. Could this be a sign of anything? I just want to be well informed about some questions I need to ask before my doctors appointment next week.

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239123_tn?1267651214
Thanks for donating to ASHA.  But I have no other comments or advice. This symptom doesn't sound significant, but this and any other questions now should be for your doctor, not a distant online forum.  That will end this thread.
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