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Please tell me...Is there any hope?
Feb 16, 2006

Dear Dr. Bob, Thank you so much for the wonderful work you do here. Your wit and humor have actually made me smile through a very difficult time.

Here is my question. Although I am not and never have been an IV drug user, am a herterosexual female who has not knowingly engaged in intercourse with a high-risk male, I have nonetheless had unprotected sex in the past. Yes, stupid. I berate myself every day. I believe these acts have now ended my life. It has been three years since my last unprotected encounter. Last September, I had lower left abdominal pain, and could feel a sort of sausage shaped lump right next to my hip. This pain still comes and goes. Soon after, I noticed painless swollen lymph nodes on both sides of my groin. In November, I found one in my neck. They have gotten worse since then, with bilateral nodes in my armpits, the front, sides and back of my neck, and in my thighs. The nodes not only increase in number, but some have been increasing in size. None are larger than a lima bean, and except for one under my jaw, none cause pain except for a general sort of ache (but are not painful to the touch unless I apply a lot of pressure). I have been all over the internet hoping this could be anything but HIV, and the findings are not encouraging. I can't imagine it's related to mono, since it's been going on for so long without other related symptoms. In fact, I don't seem to have any other symptoms at all.

Please tell me...could this realistically be anything other than HIV? If so, what? I know I need to get tested, and I will, and it is what it is and my burying my head in the sand won't change things, but I have to know if there is even a glimmer of hope.

Thank you for your time, sir.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

I'll be brief, as you can find many similar stories already posted in the archives. (Have a look!) I'll proceed directly to your specific questions:

1. Could this be anything other than HIV? Yes and most likely it is!

2. If so, what? I could list several hundred possibilities, but to do so would be a waste of time.

3. I agree: burying your head in the sand won't change things.

Rather than spending time "all over the Internet," just go get tested. Yes, there is much more than a "glimmer of hope." A quick read through the archives should convince you of that.

I'll be waiting for your "Oh my God, Dr. Bob, I can't believe it! I'm negative! I'm negative! I'm really, really negative!!! Blah, blah, blah . . . ."

Good luck. I'm quite sure I'll be hearing from you very soon.

Dr. Bob



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