Oct 19, 2013
Hi, thank you for listening. This is the first time I've ever written (or talked at all) to anybody. I have been scared to the point in which I cannot move in action for the last 15, maybe 16 years. I will start by telling you that when I was 17 through 18, I had a sexual relationship with a man that tested positive for Hep C. He was HIV neg at this point, I know this because a friend also contracted hep c (not hiv) with him through iv drug use. I do not know what I was thinking, he was not a good person. Word on the street about six months after we broke up is that he was HIV positive. A few other people he hung around with also tested positive. I have known that I contracted Hep C from him because of the aching in my liver that I've felt on and off for the last 15 years, as well as the little spider nevi on my chest. I have recently found out that hep c is contracted through blood, so that information really screws me up (we did get a tattoo together once), but I know that I have hep c. The problem is that I have been so tremendously afraid of HIV that I have spent the last 15 years doing nothing but thinking about it. I'm terrified, just terrified for my family, for me, all of it. Three months ago I begin to have some pain on the right side of my neck, an aching gland. I believe it's a cervical node, which would ache on an off and then the pain stopped and the aching started to travel up to the lymph node just below my ear, to the very right of the tip of my jawbone. I believe this is a partoid gland, which frightens me. The aching still comes on and off, the swelling is still there on both of them, and I have a constant sensation of a lump in my throat, which comes and goes throughout the day (goes away when I eat, though). Sometimes some minor ear pain too. Neither of them are noticeable, but I can feel them. All of this started with that aching that lasted about a month, followed by me getting sick for a weekend (sore throat and feeling pretty unwell), but then I got better. The swelling never went away though and the ache is still there. The partiod (if that's what it is) feels harder than the cervical node (which feels more squishy), and smaller. In the last 15+ years, I don't really remember having any swollen lymph nodes. When I was either 17 or 18 I did get sick, it's hard to remember now, but I do remember having a very sore throat and feeling pretty unwell. I don't remember a fever or having a rash, although I do remember having one red patch on my stomach that lasted either a few days or a week (I don't think it occurred at the same time I was sick). I believe now that I witnessed this man get sick from HIV, I remember him being extremely unwell (could barely walk, a total loss of voice, this sent him to the hospital), and I don't remember feeling like that.
Response from Dr. Taylor
I think the best thing to do is get tested for HIV and hepatitis C. You will know one way or the other if you have neither infection, both infections, or one of the infections. Getting diagnosed and into care is important. Finding out that you do not have one or both infections may give you relief.
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