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HIV - Prevention Forum
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Avatar universal

Concerns of possible HIV infection

I am a heterosexual male, 25 year old non drug-user. In July of 2006, while intoxicated, I had unprotected vaginal intercourse, and preformed oral sex, on a woman of unknown status. This occurred only one time. At some time during the five to ten weeks (sorry I don’t remember exactly, but I know it was in the fall or late summer), a lymph-node on the right side of my neck became visibly swollen; I had a biopsy some time later when it did not reduce in size, and the doctors tested it (although I am not sure what for) and concluded that, while they did not know what caused the swelling, it was not a life-threatening concern. I have no idea if they tested it for HIV along with whatever battery of tests. He mentioned some other lymph nodes were slightly swollen. He thought it might possibly be cat-scratch fever. Since, I’ve bronchitis 3 times. Recently, I had ulcers in my esophagus, which the doctors biopsied following an endoscopy and determined were non-bacterial (they were negative, they said, for bacteria or infection) and diagnosed me with esophagitis, caused by not swallowing vitamins with water, too heavy drinking, poor diet, and acid-reflux. I was placed on 60 mg of Protonix. HIV/AIDS was never a concern of mine because I am not sexually active; besides that drunken instance in 06, I have only had one partner, and only for a few months. If helpful, I am taking 100 mg of sertraline, in the form of Zoloft, daily as prescribed by my doctor. I have, all my life, had bad allergies, and in 03 I had pneumonia. While googling repeated bronchitis, I came across a site that mentioned HIV can cause regular recurrences. and that lymph nodes swelling up could have been my body responding to its recent infection by the HIV virus. What is my likelihood of contradicting HIV in the incident I mentioned? What is the likelihood, given that incident and my medical history, that I have HIV?
6 Responses
300980 tn?1194933000
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Welcome to our Forum. Your situation is an example of a problem we encounter quite often and for which there is a very good solution.  Persons with HIV certainly do get things like esophagitis and recurrent bronchitis and to not evaluate the possibility of HIV for such persons is a mistake.  On the other hand, each of these problems is very, very common and most people who experience them do not have HIV.  In your own case, you appear to have other explanations- heavy drinking can certainly predispose to both esophagitis and bronchitis for instance.  You can address your concern (and let's be clear, there is a concern, otherwise you would not have asked) that you might have gotten HIV by getting a single, standard HIV tests.  There is absolutely no reason not to get tested and the results will guide you in next steps.

As to the anticipated result, the chance that your HIV test will be positive is very, very small. I make this statement based on statistics from millions of people who have been evaluated.  The likelihood that a heterosexual North American woman of unknown status having HIV, presuming she was not an IV drug user, is less than 1 in 1000 and probably closer to 1 in 10,000.  Further, the risk that you would get HIV in the unlikely circumstance that she had HIV is also less than 1 infection for 1000 acts of intercourse (the risk from oral sex is far, far lower and not worth considering).  Putting these two statistics together, your mathematical risk of HIV is no greater than 1 in a million and probably lower.  

Thus, my advice is for you to go and get an HIV test.  I predict the result will be negative and this will remove one area of concern for you.  I hope my comments are helpful to you. EWH
Avatar universal
Doctor, thank you for the swift response. Do you think, then, that the lymph-node was merely a coincidence? That is what sort of puts my fears "over the top" as I look back.
300980 tn?1194933000
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
A single swollen lymph node could have been a response to any number of different things- a cavity in a tooth, a sore throat, etc.  It was biopsied and findings were not suggestive of HIV.  If it had been otherwise, you would have been told.  While I cannot tell you what caused the swollen node, I am confident it was not a sign of HIV infection.  EWH
Avatar universal
I had no idea that in a biopsy of that sort they would test for findings that might suggest HIV. It is good to know that they do. Thank you so much.
Avatar universal
So HIV infection is something they would have tested for in a lymph-node biopsy?
300980 tn?1194933000
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
No, they would not have tested specifically for HIV but they would have seen changes which would suggest the diagnosis.  Your findings were apparently non-specific.

It is time for you to move on. If you cannot, just get a test.  It will be negative. then believe the result.   EWH
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