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Is this early HIV symptoms? Please answer.
Oct 17, 2006

Hello Dr- 4 weeks ago I had a high risk incident with a girl in Thailand. Basically I very stupidly got drunk and had unprotected sex with her. For two weeks now I have had what can only be described as a mild sore throat. It's not very severe but it's enough to make me aware that it's always there. Plus the lymph glands in my neck feel swollen {not painful} and one of my tonsils is clearly swollen as well. I have been to a local doctor regarding this and he agreed that my throat was red and the glands were, in his words; "slightly swollen but nothing to worry about". I explained the whole situation with the Thai girl and that I was really concerned that these could be symptoms of acute HIV infection. However he was rather dismissive just saying that most likely I would have fever, night sweats, muscle aches etc... and that this was probably just a viral infection. -Fair enough but from everything I've read on pharyngitis/sore throats they don't go on for over two weeks with no end in sight do they?! I even had a throat swab taken and the results of that were just 'negative' I have booked in for a 3 month test but I'm basically going out of my mind with worry about these symptoms. In your experience do people who are experiencing genuine early HIV symptoms tend to have more than just a sore throat and swollen glands? Or is it posible to just get these two on their own as early symptoms? I appreciate from reading other posts that it is hard to give any sort of definitive answer to this but just a bit of insight into the more common paths or most frequently seen symptoms [if HIV has been present] that acute HIV syndrome shows. I have to wait another 2 months for the test as its being carried out on the NHS [in England] so any advice would be most appreciated.

Many thanks.

Response from Dr. Conway

It is correct that the most common manifestations of acute HIV disease are more widespread than just a sore throat, and may involve all the things your doctor mentioned to you. However, it is also possible that it may present with just a sore throat, or even no symptoms at all, just a high risk exposure. In the setting you describer, I would want to first make sure you do not have another sexual infection in your throat, such as gonorrhea. You should be tested for these (including a blood test for syphilis) if this has not yet been done. In addition, I would for sure have a baseline HIV test done now (this is what the Canadian equivalent of the NHS would certainly reimburse). If this is negative, I might consider another test to detect the virus directly (such as a PCR test) to rule out that you may have been exposed to HIV by this recent encounter.



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