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Is this something significant?
Sep 28, 2002

Hello Ryan, A brief question: Would hot flashes on the back near the neck area be a possible sign of HIV? I heard it could be and I almost fainted because I had this about two weeks after a possible exposure. Could stress or anxiety cause this too?? I didn't have any fevers, soar throat, or flu-like symptoms with this. Please tell me this is nothing to worry about. Thank you so much!

Response from Mr. Kull

I'm not aware of "hot flashes in the back of the neck" as a symptom experienced during acute HIV infection. 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.

RMK



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