|I beg you to answer this time
Aug 8, 2002
Dear Dr. Kull I had an encounter with a woman of unknown status about 5 months ago. About one week later I developed which I believed was the flu and lasted about 3 nights. After that I noticed I had a whitish and sometimes yellowish tongue which has been with me for almost 4 month now. I must say that I am a heavy smoker and coffee drinker but I never had the whitish tongue symptom before. Also, I have become quite addicted to feeling my armpits, groin, and neck for lymph nodes and they are still aching. On this encounter, based on all my fears in the past, I did use a condom. But for about maybe a few minutes, I did a half penetration without a condom since the woman was not a sex worker and I had assumed her safe. After it was over, the woman in question told me that there was some blood in her vagina, after she wiped herself off which scared the hell out of me. I guess my questions are (Please answer them specifically if possible):
1- Do symptoms such as flu like symptoms and whitish tongue appear in such a short time (1 to 2 weeks later), or are they really just in my head after reading just about every letter in your forum and they are stress related? As I said before also, I have always been looking for lymph node swelling and I constantly try to find them. I have pain on the sides of my ears and my armpits hurt constantly. But I dont think I have any other symptoms.
2- Please let me know if someone does become infected, what they should expect as symptoms within the first 3 months.
I am due to get my test results this week and I am scared to death.
I appreciate your quick reply and I hope what you tell me is what I like to hear.
| Response from Mr. Kull
Trying to determine your HIV status based on symptoms you are experiencing is unwise, anxiety provoking, and unreliable. Recent HIV infection (acute HIV infection, acute retroviral syndrome) should only be considered if ALL of the following are true:
1) You had unprotected vaginal or anal sex (inserting or receiving a penis without a condom) within the past three months.
2) Your partner was known to be HIV infected, or is a person who is in a "high-risk" category (a man who has sex with men, an injection drug user, or a person who has sexual contact with others in an area of high HIV incidence or prevalence, like sub-Saharan Africa).
3) Your symptoms are indicative of acute HIV infection (febrile illness, sometimes compared to flu or mono). The specific symptoms can vary from person to person, but acute infection most often manifests in this "flu-like" manner.
If all of the above are true for you, see a doctor to have your symptoms evaluated. If all of the above are not true, you should still have your symptoms evaluated by a doctor, but it is not likely that they are related to HIV infection.
If you have unprotected sex (especially if you don't know the status of your partners), HIV testing is a good idea, but that does not mean you are at high risk for infection.
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