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Could I be infected with HIV?
Aug 2, 2013

Hello Dr. Cordova. I am a healthy 28 year old male. I do not nor have I ever taken drugs of any kind or experimented as a homosexual. A month ago I had brief (5 to 10 minutes) of unprotected vaginal sex with a girl just one time. I also inserted my finger in her vagina. We had stopped talking. On 6/8/2013 I had unprotected vaginal sex with another girl twice that night, again for less than 10 minutes each time. My question is, is it normal to be able to feel lymph nodes in their normal state in your neck without them being swollen? I took an oraquick swab test at home today and it came back negative. If lymph nodes are swollen, does that mean that there is enough antibodies to detect? Also once in a while I get a very faint pain in my armpit and groin. It goes away quickly and as far as I know nothing is swollen there. I can feel my lymph nodes in my neck as small pea shaped and I am able to move them. I have to press rather hard to feel the lymph nodes in my neck. I heard that even though the oraquick recommends waiting 3 months to test, that it is still reliable prior because most people develop antibodies quickly. Is this true? Again I don't nor have I ever done drugs of any kind or am a homosexual. I don't even smoke cigarets and I take a men's one a day vitamin almost every day. I will admit I don't eat as healthy as I should. I am sorry for the long novel here, but any advice would be wonderful! I think you and the other doctors on here do a great thing. God notices this! Thank you!

Response from Mr. Cordova

Hi there,

Any time you have unprotected vaginal or anal sex, the risk of HIV transmission is increased. That being said, as the insertive partner, your risk was lower.

It is normal to be able to feel the lymph nodes in your neck, and swollen lymph nodes are an unreliable way of telling whether or not an infection has occurred.

You must wait 90 days before you get a conclusive test result. However, most people will show up reactive or positive by the 28th day.

Bottom line: Test at 90 days to be certain, and if you need to test prior to that for your peace of mind that's fine too. Be certain to follow up any testing done prior to 90 days with one final test at the 90 day mark. In the future, be sure to protect yourself by using a condom for each and every act of penetrative sex.

In health,

Richard



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