If you believe you have been exposed to HIV and want help to judge your risk, would like advice about HIV testing, or have questions about the effectiveness of condoms or risks associated with specific sexual practices, this is the site for you.
I'm sorry for posting again. I know at one point there was a specific HIV Anxiety forum on MedHelp, but it doesn't really seem active anymore. I have been having extreme anxiety because of a swollen submandibular gland after a low risk exposure. It is definitely swollen (not my imagination) and goes up and down throughout the day, sometimes it's slightly painful. I've had 2 courses of different antibiotics with no change. All I can do is cry and scour the internet trying to find some information. I've read on reputable sites that submandibular swelling is a common symptom of acute HIV infection. I've read studies that HIV affects submandibular function. I can't find much other information on causes - other than blockage or infection. I think an infection is unlikely in my case since antibiotics aren't working. And from what I understand a blockage/dysfunction can be caused by HIV, among other things. It just seems too coincidental that I would get this 3 weeks after exposure and that it would still be persisting (2 months since I first realized it, 3 months since the exposure).
My exposure included manual sex with semen making contact with a cut on my hand, and licking of genitals with possible precum getting in my mouth. I've been told on here many times that this is no/low risk exposure. But I can't stop thinking that maybe he had blood in his mouth when we were kissing or something, anything. Maybe I'm someone who contracts HIV in an unconventional way. I just can't stop thinking about this submandibular gland and how common it is for HIV to affect it.
I know a test would be conclusive at this point, but I am terrified to get tested. I am pretty young and this was only the second person I'd ever done anything sexual with. What I want most in life is to get married, but I know as a woman it would be unlikely for that to ever happen if I had HIV.
I know that I'll be told I have anxiety and that I should seek help for it. But I have. I've talked to counselor about this many times, but it doesn't alleviate my worrying. It doesn't change the things I have read on the internet. I can't find other explanations for this swollen submandibular gland and that is the only thing that would make me feel better other than a negative test.
Apollo and myself are still answering posts in the HIV Anxiety Support GROUP (it doesn't get as much traffic because it's a group, not a forum). If you post there one of us will answer.
Please keep in mind however that when you have more than 30 posts and multiple threads on the same topic, there comes a point where there isn't much else people can tell you on a forum that hasn't already been said.
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