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Acute HIV: Canker sores and swollen lymph nodes
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The STD Forum is intended only for questions and support pertaining to sexually transmitted diseases other than HIV/AIDS, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, human papillomavirus, genital warts, trichomonas, other vaginal infections, nongonoccal urethritis (NGU), cervicitis, molluscum contagiosum, chancroid, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

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Acute HIV: Canker sores and swollen lymph nodes

I had unprotected vaginal and oral sex with a female about 4 weeks ago.  She claimed I was the 53rd person i had sex with in her lifetime.  About 3-4 days ago I started to feel a tightness in my throat.  I figured it was probably stress, but then I developed sores in my mouth, which at first I thought were herpes blisters, but now, I realize are actually canker sores.  I have two on the inside of my lower lip and one on my upper gums.  Additionally, my throat still feels tight, and it looks like one of my tonsils is swollen along with some lymph nodes.  However, the swelling is painless.  I'm 26 and I've never had canker sores before.  While I have been under a lot of stress lately, it seems a bit too coincedental to have canker sores and swollen lymph nodes at 4 weeks after possible exposure.  

I guess I'm looking for some insight into risk assessment.  Is there any reason to get a test now, or should I wait until the six week mark?  Additionally, if I am infected, how much of a risk am I putting other people at if I have protected sex with them?
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You're right, this should be on the HIV forum.  In deference to your mistake I will answer your question but cannot engage in a dialog at this site.  If, after my comments, there are further questions, you will need to re-post on the HIV Prevention site.  

HIV risk.  Symptoms are simply not helpful in assessing risk for HIV.  A serological test is the only reliable indicator.  A test at four weeks after exposure will identify 85-90% of all tests that are going to occur (at 6 weeks it will identify over 95% of infections).  When this is taken in the context of the fact that, even if your partner had has sex with over 50 other partners, she is not likely to be infected.  In addition, if she was infected, your risk of infection from a single vaginal exposure is about 1 in 1000 (the oral exposure, in this context, is not something to worry about).  Thus, if you get tested now, odds are that the test will be negative and they can be taken as definitive.

As for protection.  Protection works- condoms prevent HIV transmission. Thus condom protected sex is safe sex.

Hope this helps.  EWH
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realize this should be on the HIV forum, but i didn't read the heading until after i posted it.  
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
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