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Mar 9, 2002

Dear Doctor,

Would you please, please answer this question, as it is an emergency? A real emergency?

As far as I know, oesophagitis candidiasis (candida of the gullet) is an AIDS-defining condition.

Recently I had a kind of "lump (deep) in the throat" feeling. Is this a symptom of this condition? Can't see my doctor right now, but I really need to know... It becomes very apparent when I swallow (incl. saliva).

If this were really THIS, would there be thrush in the mouth as well? Would I have any other symptoms/signs? Please specify. I am REALLY worried...

Response from Dr. Feinberg

First of all, you can have candida in the esophagus with or without oral thrush (candid in the mouth). Typical symptoms of esophagitis are a feeling that food "sticks" in the chest, and/or a burning sensation or pain with swallowing that is felt not so much in the throat as it is in the midline of the chest, below the breastbone.

When this condition has gone on for a while, eating becomes more and more difficult, and some people will lose a significant amount of weight. However, esophagitis by itself is not a life-threatening emergency, although it certainly needs medical attention.

I recommend that you see your physician to get a definitive diagnosis and treatment. Candida esophagitis can be treated with an antifungal drug called fluconazole, one tablet a day for a period of 10 days.

Are HIV antibodies affected by alcohol?

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