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Sep 11, 2000

I have been having pain in my chest and on the left side of my back constantly throughout the day. I would get it before when I smoked marijuana, but I have since quit and now I get the pain when I don't smoke. My heart seems to beat hard at times throughout the day when I am just relaxing, but my pulse is normal. I also feel shaky or trembling and tingling sensations on my back. I have been positive for 3 years. My doctor gave me an EKG and said my heart seems fine. Do you think this is related to HIV? Do you have any suggestions of oi's for me to tell my doctor to look into? Please help I'm only 22 years old.

Response from Dr. Feinberg

The pattern of pain you describe, as well as your EKG results and your age, are not very consistent with heart disease. You don't say what your T cell count is, but if you've only been infected for 3 years it's unlikely to be so low as to put you at risk for an OI. It sounds like your pain may be musculoskeletal since your back hurts as well -- it doesn't sound typical for something HIV-related. The shakiness and trembling may be related to anxiety, or to a problem arising in the nervous system. Ask your doctor to evaluate you thoroughly for other, non-cardiac, problems.

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