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Mono and HIV

Aug 24, 2000

First off, I want to thank you for your superb website. You are bringing hope to thousands.

I recently went to the doctor for fever, night sweats, enlarged glands, and tongue issues. I also was very fatigued. The doctor ordered blood tests which came back positive for Primary Mononucleosis and a slightly enlarged liver. I also had what seemed to be mouth ulcers (never had them before) for 2 days but then strangely seemed to turn into Geographic tongue. My question is could this be a misdiagnosis and I am really going through ARS? I had unprotected sex with a white under 20 female 5 weeks before symptoms. My doctor is testing me today only because I am worried about it, she says the test was conclusive for EBV infection. What is your advice?

Response from Mr. Kull

Your case is a great example of why acute retroviral syndrome (the temporary illness someone experiences close to the time they were HIV infected) is compared to the symptoms of mononucleosis: they are so similar. I've seen several gay men convince themselves they were HIV positive, only to learn that they were testing for the wrong thing. They had mono.

The fact that your tests came back positive for Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) tells us that you have infectious mononucleosis. What a bizarre coincidence it would be if you are experiencing primary HIV infection as well!

Mono takes a little while to kick. Make sure you get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids, and you should be fine. And trust your doctor; it sounds like she is doing a great job.


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