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Scary Symptoms. . .HELP!
Dec 23, 2007

Hi: A little about myself, I'm from a very conservative town in the West and know little about HIV. I've had unprotected oral (receptive and performing, never swallow) about six times with unknown status guys. The reason for my concern is some scary symptoms. In early Oct. I became ill with high fever, sore throat etc. An initial strep test came back negative. The doctor later did a blood test that showed evidence of a strep infection. I then began a round of antibiotics. Later that month I noticed swelling in my armpits. I've had this swelling along with pain in groin ever since. I've also just now noticed evidence of thrush with a white coated tongue. I have two questions. 1) Would any evidence of an HIV infection show up in a routine blood test like the one performed on me? 2) What is the likelihood that my symptoms point to HIV? I know I need to get tested. I am so scared. I literally will be shunned if this thing comes back positive. Any help you can give would be so appreciated. Thanks.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

You're from a very conservative town; you know little about HIV and you would be shunned if you test HIV positive. Hmmm . . . it's amazing how often these three things seem to go together. Gee, I wonder why? Say, do you happen to live near Bush or Cheney?

To answer your questions:

1. No, the only way to determine HIV status is to take an HIV-specific test.

2. Symptoms are notoriously unreliable in predicting who is and is not HIV infected. Your HIV-acquisition risk (oral sex) is low. However, the only way to determine if you've acquired the virus is to get tested.

My advice is:

1. Get informed about HIV/AIDS. There really is no excuse for "knowing little" about HIV 26 years into the pandemic! A good place to start is right here. There's a wealth of information in the archives and on the various site's links. Start with the material under "Quick Links" on The Body's homepage.

2. Get a rapid HIV test at the three-month mark. HIV-antibody tests taken prior to three months are not considered to be conclusive.

3. Consider doing what you can to enlighten your conservative environment. Shunning someone merely because they have a sexually acquired viral illness is draconian, unconscionable and immoral!

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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