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Confuse Teenager

Feb 25, 2013

Dear Dr. Shannon; I am 16 years and I have read a lot of articles an sometimes if not most times they have something different to say about ARS- HIV Related Symptoms and AIDS. My first question to you is as follows:

( 1) If someone was to become infected by HIV it is understood that the virus is present in their system even though they can be tested negative..It was also understood that this person can infect anyone if they were to have unprotected sex. But how can this be if they test negative an can still pass the virus on? Can they test the semen of infected person within the period of the 3 months so that the virus can be found within that time frame? Because if I am infected an have unprotected sex with someone and my result still shows negative within the 3 months period then what happens?

(2) My BF is HIV positive an we never really had sex but we do a lot of orals an about 3 weeks ago we had orals where he came (cum) on top of my hands. After he did that I notice on top of my hands were burning me from his semen which I assume I was bruise during time of our foreplay. I went an wash it off after with running water but there was no visible sign of cuts but my hand was red after which I put some rubbing alcohol on it but there was no burning..Am I at risk.

(3) My other question to you is that do LYMPH Nodes hurt without swelling? As I have been getting these annoying burning pains in different parts of my body e.g under my arm pits, groin area and sometime belly pain where I feel nauseated as this happens at different times during the course of the day. My pains are not tender to the touch but it is very worrisome that my body is trying to fight off something.

Please provide me with such information

Response from Ms. Southall

Hi Thanks for your questions.

1. In testing someone for HIV there is what we call a window period. This time is a time when someone can be positive and test result show negative. The reason for this is the testing is looking for the body developing antibodies. Everyone's body develops these at different rates. The guidelines for testing are to be initially tested at 3 weeks from exposure then again at 90 days if this test is negative than so are you. 2. As for oral sex, this carries the lowest risk of HIV transmission, either giving or receiving. 3. The signs and symptoms you are experiencing do sound like lymph node swelling and yes they can be painful. They can be swelling from a multitude of different reasons, not just HIV.

If these symptoms continue I would encourage you to follow up with your health care provider and I would also consider being tested. From what you have told me from the exposure currently you have had HIV is not likely, but knowing your status is very important for your future and your health care.

Be well and stay safe, Shannon

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