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Fatigue and AnemiaFatigue and Anemia
           
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Nov 1, 1999

I am very lost right now. About 10 months after a possible exposure, (unprotected vaginal sex,) I started having a reoccuring swollen lymph node behind my right ear. It feels like a have an earache, a clogged ear, and sometimes even gives me facial and jaw pain. I have pretty much written off my life as being HIV positive to the point of not functioning. I'm too scared to get the test, for fear of what the result might be. So I guess my question is a symptom question. How long will it be before my other lymph nodes begin to swell (as this one node has been swollen off and on for 6 months). Would my other lymph nodes already be swollen? And how would I know for sure? Again thank you so much for your time. Your help is greatly appreciated.

Sincerly, Lost

Response from Mr. Molaghan

Hello Lost Yikes it would be so simple for you to be found. I can understand your fear of getting HIV tested, but what have you got to lose? You stated that you had pretty much written off your life as being HIV positive "to the point of not functioning." Will finding out your HIV status make you feel worse than you already feel? I don't think so. You sound very sad and fearful. You definitely would benefit from some counseling around the fear of HIV issue. The psychological stress you must be experiencing is also suppressive to the immune system. Many, (but not all) people with HIV develop some enlargement of the lymph glands (Lymphadenopathy). This is part of the body's immune response involved in fighting HIV. The swelling is usually diffuse throughout the body- not isolated as in your case. An isolated swollen lymph gland is usually just the body doing its job by fighting off localized infections. Ever notice how your glands get swollen under your jaw when you have a sore throat? The post auricular node (behind the earlobe) becomes swollen in response to ear infections or any other "problems in the area." The sudden appearance of a rapidly enlarging isolated lymph node, should be taken seriously. Cancer of the lymph glands can occur in both men and women. See your doctor. The answer is probably quite simple. And get tested. You might be able to regain your zest. Good luck!

JBM


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