Scared in Iraq
Nov 10, 2007
Doc- I have asked a couple questions in previous months and you have been kind enough to help ease my mind. Well, I have one more concern I'm hoping you could tackle. I am currently serving my time in Iraq and had a sexual encounter prior to arriving here. It was unprotected vaginal and oral sex which lasted only a short time. I have tried to get a blood test on 2 occasions, but the results never made it back or the samples never made it out. What has me worried is a small puffed up lymph node on the left side of my neck. It has been almost 6 months since my encounter and was wondering if this could be an initial sign of HIV. I plan to get tested again when I make it back. I don't believe I have exhibited any other signs, but have read that lymph node swelling is a common first sign of HIV. I had the Doc look at it and he said is was puffed a little, but is only the size of a pea. Could this be a sign to worry me? Please help me out one last time Doc. My donations are already on the way. Thank you in advance.
Response from Dr. Frascino
Hi Scared in Iraq,
While I can think of many reasons to be "scared in Iraq," noticing a single pea-sized lymph node on the left side of my neck wouldn't (and shouldn't) be one of them! The lymphadenopathy (swollen lymph glands) associated with HIV is generalized, which means the glands pop up at many locations simultaneously in response to the virus. HIV circulates through the whole body and therefore would not only be bothering a single small lymph node on one side of your neck!
You still should be tested, because of your unprotected sexperience, but you shouldn't worry about that tiny node, OK?
Keep your head down and come home safe. A rapidly growing majority of Americans are now in favor of getting you and all our soldiers home ASAP.
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