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first pregnancy: anxiety or hiv +

Nov 17, 2004

Hi doctor, I'am now 7 1/2 months pregnant with my first child, and living with the fear of being hiv + It all began 3 months ago when i was surfing the internet and came across an article on hiv/aids. Reading along I noticed the symptoms paragraph, and found myself feeling sick as I read on. Ever since that day I have been convinced that I have contracted the hiv virus. The symptoms of hiv relate with symptoms of pregnancy, such as my headaches, and fatigue... In the past month I have found serveral swollen lymph nodes in my neck, only. When I had a sore throat, is when i first felt a sharp pain in the back of my neck, along with a huge lump. Within days i had serveral nodes feelable on my neck. My doctor said that they were from having a sore throat, and they may take 6 weeks to go away. I have been pressing very hard on the nodes, which has cause them to remain in size. Everyday it seems i have found one new swollen lymph node on my neck. Some of them have pain others are painless. I know you are going to mention taking a test, and I will. Untill I do I was wondering if you could just tell me if it could be anxiety at all, or is it hiv. I'm just really scared for my baby, and have become a chicken to the fact of knowledge of knowing the truth. Please answer my question let me know what you think. Thank you very much.

A worried sick mother

Response from Dr. Horwath

Headaches and fatigue are common in pregnancy. Sore throat is a common cause of swollen lymph nodes. You are most likely suffering from anxiety, given that this all started after reading about the symptoms. In the second year of medical school (which is when you learn about diseases and their symptoms), many medical students develop a series of "illnesses" right after they learn about them. I think that is what happened to you.

However, for the sake of your and your baby's health, you should get an HIV test and put this worry to rest.

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