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Uncertain of status and freaking out!!

Dec 12, 2007

Hello Dr Bob,

I am sure that I am just being paranoid but I had a recent scare with possible Hiv infection. As well as it being world Aids day December 1 I have been reading the wealth of information everywhere and now have become stessed with fear for my family. When my husband and I split up for a while approx 1.5 years ago I did have unprotected sex with someone(he tested negative after 5.5 months and I have the lab results given to me). So this is where it all starts I have been a feak about lymph nodes since then checking everyone in the house since including my husband(we are back together) and my children. I noticed about 3 months after my indiscretion that my husband has some node swelling or shotty lymph nodes behind the ear, in the neck and groin. So I check my children and the same thing and same places. They are small and discreet in the children but more noticeable in my husband all though they are smaller than an inch. They have persisted for over a year. Now I ask myself if I was even tested while pregnant. Since I don't know I wonder about us all being infected. I know they say in children symptoms don't show up until they are older my children are under 6. I have experienced neuropathy in my legs and hands and have seen a specialist and they don't know what to make of it. Looking on the net of course all of these can be symptoms of Hiv. With all of us having several lymph node swelling behind the ear, neck and groin(small, shotty nodes and painless) is this a precursor to Hiv like I have read? I have as well had neuropathy but from what I know none of us have been ill where we needed medical attention. Can you please help ease a moms fears and give me some input. Do you think with all these symptoms that we are at risk. Please help!!!

Sorry for my grammar but I am sure you understand what I am saying. Thank you very much and stay well. We all appreciate the work that you do.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Paranoid Mom,

Your "indiscretion" tested negative at 5.5 months. So exactly why are you freaking out? You've spent a year poking and prodding your husband and kids, checking the Web for HIV symptoms information and worrying yourself into a panic without any reason.

Yes, you put yourself at risk by having unprotected sex. Consequently my advice to you is exactly the same as it is to the gazillions of others who have found themselves in exactly the same situation:

1. Get a rapid HIV test three months or more after your last possible exposure.

2. Level with your husband. It's not only the best way to confront your guilt and anxiety, but it's also the right thing to do.

3. Stop poking and prodding your loved ones! You are not a doctor and therefore not qualified to differentiate normal from abnormal lymph nodes. Symptoms, even when present, are notoriously unreliable in distinguishing who is and is not HIV infected.

Bottom line: stop freaking. Stop poking. Get tested. The results will unquestionably be negative and you should then be able to put these unwarranted worries permanently to rest, OK?

Dr. Bob

may i wahooooo?
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