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Re: possibly optimistic situation
Jan 6, 2004

Your response was plenty helpful Dr. Wohl, don't worry about that. At first, I too thought that if my body was having such a harsh reaction, I would have created antibodies by now. But other than these local swollen glands, my only symptom is weight loss, which can be induced by the immune system, without virus in the blood. It would be conceivable that salivary glands and tonsils are powerful enough to hold virus firmly inside their tissues had they been the only tissues initially exposed. The weight loss could be a result of cytokine production resulting from the immune system's awareness that these glands were working extremely hard to keep a dangerous pathogen at bay. I know this sounds far fetched, but with the exposure site, the symptoms, the viral load during the acute illness, and the duration of all these events, everything just seems very HIV-like, especially when all other serologies are negative, including mono-spot, Epstein Barr and CMV. When I have these glands biopsied, should I insist they are checked for HIV? Is there even a way to do this?

Response from Dr. Wohl

I don't think you have HIV virus contained in your salivary glands. I also suspect that despite your AIDS-like illness your CD4 cell count, if it were to be checked, is not anywhere near AIDS levels. If you actually have objectively swollen glands and find a surgeon who will perform a biopsy, HIV can be sought by looking for abnormal lymph node architecture and by other techniques. DW



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