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can symptoms be brought by worry?
Oct 6, 2003

Hi. Some time ago i had a series of high-risk unprotected encounters which had an impact of my mental well-being. A few weeks later i had symptoms correlating to AVS: severe fatigue, inflamed lymph nodes, body aches. at the time i also did a hemogramme that showed a halved number of lymphocytes in my blood. the doctors said i had an infection but they could not diagnose what exactly. the sypmtoms disappeared in about 10 days and i did antibody tests at 3 and 6 months, i tested negative. moreover, no other infection has been diagnosed in my body since. i remember one of the experts saying that sometimes the onset of symptoms can be brought by psychological factors, like guilt or shame. i think this is what he said but i am not sure. i wondered if you can explain from your point of view whether symptoms can indeed be brought about by poor mental well-being at the time and whether you have had such evidence in your practice. i was really frightened back then and i had moral issues. i would like to finally get rid of the fear that 6 month test didnt work. i know about "worried well" but so far i do not have any explanation for that 10-day episode and i am turning to you for help.

Response from Dr. Horwath

Psychological factors can cause fear and anxiety, but not symptoms like inflamed lymph nodes. It sounds like you had some kind of viral infection which resolved.

Negative ELISA tests at 3 and 6 months are very conlcusive evidence that you are not HIV positive. The ELISA is 99.5% sensitive when done 2-12 weeks after exposure.

To avoid further anxiety of this type, don't engage in high-risk unprotected sexual encounters. This is in your control.



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