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Swollen Neck Lymph node

May 19, 2008

Hello Dr. Bob ,

I just donated my little share.I am not telling so that you will answer my question.I understood the issue as i am going through that anxiety.

In January 3 week i had a sex with woman for money.I had condom but did not realize it broke and after i came down i realized i dont have condom.Ofcourse i am scared to death now.

From 10 days i have a a Small swollen left neck Lymph node.I had sore throat for couple of days and breathing hard( i am expecting because of anxiety) and headache.

I tested after 1 week of interaction in jan and it was negative.I will go for test again but scared to go.

Is it possible to be symtom free for 3 months and then swollen left neck and can i suspect that as a symptom.

I dont know the odds of getting HIV from other partner if they are positive.

I know that by not testing nothing is confirmed,but out of anxiety,i am asking.If i am destined to get then i will get it.

Thanks for reply.

Response from Dr. Frascino


The per-episode risk of acquiring HIV from unprotected (or condom failure) penile-vaginal sex with a partner confirmed to be HIV positive is estimated to be 5 per 10,000 exposures. Your estimated risk would be even less, as we do not know the HIV status of your partner.

Regarding symptoms, a small swollen left-sided lymph node in the neck is not worrisome for or suggestive of HIV acute retroviral syndrome (ARS). The adenopathy (swollen lymph glands) associated with HIV infection is generalized (occurs throughout the body) and is non-painful. I agree your symptoms are most likely related to stress and anxiety.

My advice would be to get a single HIV antibody test (rapid test or ELISA) at the three-month mark to put your worries permanently to rest. The odds are astronomically in your favor that you did not contract HIV from this event.

Thank you for your donation to the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation ( It's urgently needed and warmly appreciated. In return I'm sending you my good-luck karma that your three-month definitive test is negative.

Good luck!

Dr. Bob

how soon can ARS symptoms appear
no question, just thanks

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