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Avatar universal

HIV Symptoms Horribly scared please help

Dear Dr. I posted a question recently on this forum where you said i was low risk for HIV but I believe you may have misread. I had a condom break during vaginal sex with an unknown woman. Since then i have tested negative for everything except herpes and HIV

My symptoms are as follows
Confirmed (by a MD) swollen lymph nodes in the neck and groin
Approx 3 weeks after the event i had a sinus infection that took a while to clear even on antibiotics
About 3 days ago I went to the Dr. due to the lymph nodes. He said i had slight weezes and an upper respitory infection. put me on zithromax
I have had pain in the tip of my penis since the event that comes and goes.

My questions are
is having a condom break during vaginal sex really low risk?

I know you are overwhelmed by lymph node questions but I just cant ignore the fact that at 6 weeks after the event now i have a swollen lymph nodes. I have gone to 3 different places looking for testing and none of them will offer it until 3 months. I am extremely nervous to the point that it is starting to disrupt my life. how at risk am i really for an infection?

also planned parenthood told me that HIV/Aids does not show symptoms for up to 10 years. from what i have read online this just does not seem true at all.  
please answer my questions thank you
21 Responses
239123 tn?1267651214
I empathize with you, and I don't understand docs who won't test you before 3 months; you clearly have not seen providers who are very knowledgeable about HIV and its diagnosis.  The persons you spoke with at Planned Parenthood either didn't understand your question or is confused about the difference between overt AIDS and lab test results.  AIDS itself indeed can be delayed until 10 years or even 20 years after infection; but the blood test always is positive within 6 weeks.   (Few health care providers at most family planning clinics have ever provided ongoing health care to people with HIV, and few have even had a patient with a positive HIV test.)  Try your local health department STD clinic.

But in the meantime, it is very unlikely you have HIV.  Many conditions other than HIV cause enlarged lymph nodes; most are not serious.

I didn't misread anything about your risks.  Vaginal sex is pretty low risk, even without a condom, even if the woman is HIV infected, which she probably wasn't.  "Low risk" is relative, of course; vaginal sex is much higher risk than kissing or oral sex, for example.  But it's still true that even if she had HIV, the chance you got infected was on the order of 1 in 1000.

Good luck---  HHH, MD
Avatar universal
thanks for the kind words, I hope you are correct. I have not had a 6 week test and cannot find anyone to give me one. 3 months is the best I can do
97676 tn?1340408973
Testing can be done at any time at a local health clinic if you live in the US.
97676 tn?1340408973
Symptoms mean nothing.  Tests are the only indicator of an infection or lack there of.  Sinus infections are not a sign of HIV by the way.  This is cold and flu season, and I dont believe your symptoms suggest HIV.  Swollen lymph nodes are caused by so many other things, other than HIV.  To my understanding, HIV causes generalized swelling of nodes throughout the body (swelling to large size about the size of a walnut).  But again, swelling is caused by many other things, more common than HIV.  I really dont think you have anything to worry about, but im not a doctor so wait for HHH's response.  I will however say that the people at planned parenthood are wrong, or you misunderstood what they had stated.  In persons who are infected with HIV who dont know they are infected, HIV can become AIDS within about a 10 year period.  In US and most other countries around the globe, HIV tests are on the cutting edge of technology and almost 100% of persons will have a reliable test at 6 weeks, around 99%.  The only acception to this is people who have immunocompromised systems (IE. persons recieving chemo treatment, iv drug users, organ transplant recievers).  If you have had a test at 6 weeks, its reliable and you should put the worrying to rest.  If you havent, get one to put your anxiety to rest.  Its been 6 weeks so you can surely rely on an HIV test result at this point.  To add, symptoms of initial HIV infection, ARS, usually take place between 10-14 days after an encounter.  Put it this way, even if she did have HIV, the chances of transmission are 1 in 1000.  The odds are highly in your favor.  

Herpes Simplex Virus testing is somewhat reliable at 6 weeks, (maybe around 90%+, could be wrong).  Herpes usually takes 12 weeks for a 100% reliable result.  With the absence of lesions or sores, you really have nothing to worry about.  Symptoms of herpes usually occurs around 10 days past an exposure(ie lesions, sores).

You can rely on your tests at this point, so get tested.  I really dont think you have anything to worry about.  Quit trying to associate symptoms which probably have nothing to do with an STD with the thoughts that you have an std.  Tests are the determining factor.  Wait for the Docs response for clarification.  Good luck to you.
Avatar universal
Ryn,  I've seen you post some pretty good information. I have a question for you and others in the lymph node arena.  I have one swollen lymph node(close to the size of a walnut)on the left side of the neck just under the jaw.  I did go to the doctor as it was bothering my throat and ear.  I was prescribed zithromax the "z" pack, and am at day 4 of the pills, without any reduction.  Just curious if this could be a symptom of ARS, or as you mentioned does ARS USUALLY cause universal (all over the body) swelling of the lymph nodes?  My exposure was on 9/25, too early for reliable HIV testing, and I have had significant anxiety since.  I originally posted under "Staggeringly Low Transmission rate..." and have been on the site since, reading just about every post.  Just curious.  Thanks
97676 tn?1340408973
I am not a doctor, but I will try and help you out based on my knowledge.  One lymph node swollen means nothing; the same goes if all were swollen.  The test is the only indicator.  One swollen node does not suggest HIV as HIV usually causes generalized swelling of all nodes throughout the body.  Most lymph node swelling has to do with an infection or a variety of viruses, more common than HIV.  Zithromax is one hell of an antibiotic, and im sure that if an infection is the culprit, the z-pack killed it off.  If your GP thought that there was something to be concerned about, im sure he would recommend testing.  To add, lymph node swelling does not go down over night.  It can sometimes take weeks for the swelling to subside.  There are a number of causes for swelling, much more common than HIV.  To my knowledge, ARS usually doesn
Avatar universal
Hang in there as best you can.  Have you asked your GP for an HIV test?  

The first and most obvious sign of ARS is a relatively high fever (101 or higher).  The other symptoms come after you develop this fever.  So unless you get a fever within a few weeks of exposure, you don't have ARS.  But as others have pointed out, symptoms are not a good indicator of HIV.

I too developed a sinus infection about four weeks after a potential exposure.  I was absolutely convinced that I had HIV.  I finally went into my GP, explained what had happened, and then a nurse drew blood for the test.  The blood was sent out to a laboratory, and the results came back within a week.  The test was negative.  I had this test done at 8.5 weeks after exposure.  

I really doubt that you have contracted HIV from this exposure.  But the only way to know for sure is to test.  So keep trying to get tested.
Avatar universal
Its been about 14 days since i received oral sex from a prostitude and i also tried to finger her but wasn't able to but felt something slightly wet with my finger. Yesterday i woke up feeling really tired, i almost felt i was gonna get the flu or something. All day i was slugglish with a headache and stomach ache. I didn't take my temperature but this morinig i did and it was 99.1. WHat im trying to say is how severe should the HIV ARS symptoms be. Right now i actually feel pretty good besides the fact that i have a case of diahrea. Also today i got my HIV and STD results that i had done at 8 days after my situation. But im going to get a 6 week test. I apreaciate everyone listening, please provide any input. My post was Oral sex with a prostitude on 10/5/05.
Avatar universal
Hi, As everyone has responded it is extremely unlikely that your problems are due to HIV. I dont know where you live but if you live in the uk i would like to offer you some advice. If you want to be tested for HIV and if you live in the uk DO NOT ask your gp to test you for hiv go to a GUM clinic and be tested,the reason being that if you go to your gp it is on record and he may be required to tell insurance companies etc that you have been tested ( which will hammer the premiums up.) at a GUM clinic it is confidential and nobody knows not even your gp is told. In fact on my test they told me never to tell my GP that i have been tested. Hope this helps you.
Avatar universal
All I can say is that I've had a swollen lymph gland in my neck for four weeks now and candidiasis (confirmed) on my tongue - I was so certain it was hiv (see my threads 'am I right to push for a test here? and 'a message of support for the site'). I tested for everything at 11 weeks, more at 12 weeks and, since I've just been referred to a clinic that specialises in conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, anaemia, etc, they've just re-tested with my consent for Hep a, b, c, hiv and syphilis at 95 days since exposure. All negative, no hiv, its actually glandular fever! Hang in there - I am sure you'll be o.k. Rich.
Avatar universal
From everything I researched when I was going through my most anxious phase, the encounter is very low risk. Here in the u.k., the std (g.u.m.) clinic specialists said to me that in their experience, IF someone is or has suffered ARS, they are very ill, not just slightly. Nevertheless, as the doc says on here all the time - symtpoms and timescales cannot diagnose HIV, only blood tests. You can tie yourself in so many knots figuring out statistics and likelihoods - take care, it will be o.k.
Avatar universal
Dr. Please answer one more question: I called PLanned Parenthood and they agreed that they will give me the regular test at 6 weeks even though they say it should be given at 3 months. Before I pay for the test is the 3 month test the same procedure as the 3 Month test? My lymph nodes are still swollen noticably and i would like to know whats going on ASAP
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