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Lymph node tenderness
Aug 21, 2008

Hello Dr.

I am worried about having possibly acquired HIV last year. While my boyfriend at the time said he had been tested, I question if he was telling the truth. He also has quite an extensive sexual history so to speak, so I am very worried.

My question is regarding lymph node tenderness. I find that I often experience lymph node tenderness under my armpits. The tenderness is in both the left and the right side. Also, my neck feels rather stiff. It is more on the left side than the right. I am not sure if this due to lymph node tenderness or if it just my neck muscles that are sore from sleeping. The tenderness is located about 2 inches below my left ear and 1 inch behind. The tenderness in my underarms is certainly in my lymph nodes. I had mono a few years ago and the tenderness feels similar.

Can you please speak to the issue of lymph node pain/tenderness with respect to HIV progression on year after acquiring the disease? Any information with regards to location of tenderness, frequency etc would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much.

Response from Dr. Horwath

You cannot diagnose HIV based on lymph node tenderness. There are many different potential causes, including mononucleosis and a variety of other viral infections.

The only reliable way to tell if you have HIV infection is to go for an HIV antibody test. It's better to get the test now and resolve your fears about this.

Also, it is best to practice safe sex at all times rather than rely on a boyfriend's report. The cost of believing a lie can be very high.



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