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Persistant Swollen glands, -ve hiv test @ 10 months
Aug 15, 2001

Hi,

I had an unprotected heterosexual encounter a year ago. Since around that time I have had swollen glands under my jaw and a loss of definition in my neck (I used to have clear definition if I tensed my muscles, now it seems fatty). I have had hiv tests at 3, 6 and 10 months and all came back non-reactive. The girl told me she had a negative test 5 months after our encounter. I can no longer ask her repeat the test as that bridge has been burned.

The glands beneath my jaw have stayed the same size for at least 8 months and feel quite hard or rubbery, however recently, in the last two months I have noticed a solid mass appear below each ear (behind the jaw where it turns up towards the front of the ear. These masses feel different than the glands below the jaw, more palpable. They appear to be getting larger slowly.

I am wondering if stress could be a large factor in these glands. I am in general good health and have researched the window period at length. I have read that 99 of people will seroconvert in 6 months or less. I also read that the longest recorded seroconversion was a nurse who took 8 months after a needlestick.

I am very nervous and have been worried daily since this encounter. My doctor told me to stop feeling the glands as he said that constant touching could maintain the swelling. He also says that they are not particularly large and does not seem bothered. Knowing my body I am sure they are up and are noticable when I pull my tongue to the back of my throat. He recommended a final test at 1 year (Which would be now.) I am too worried to take it to be honest.

Please tell me your thoughts, especially regarding the window period, plus the possible reasons for the mass below my ear. They are painless and I am suffering no loss of hearing.

Thank you for your ssistance.

Regards,

Worried.

Response from Mr. Kull

Let me keep this simple: an HIV antibody test performed six months after exposure is highly accurate (99.9%). It is so unlikely that your symptoms are related to HIV. But your doctor told you this, and still you are having difficulty believing him.

It definitely sounds like you are experiencing a significant level of anxiety that may or may not be related to HIV. Have you considered talking with a mental health professional about the anxiety you are experiencing? That may help, probably more than focusing on HIV.

RMK



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