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Question for wife
Jul 1, 2004

My wife does not feel comfortable with her family doctor. She thinks she might be HIV-infected due to a night of infidelity 5 weeks ago. Thus, she had some questions, which I do not know how to answer since I am untrained:

1. During ARS, can lymph swelling be on and off. In other words, can your lymph nodes be swollen on Monday, but not on Tuesdayand then swell again on Thursdaybut subside by Friday night? If so, is this in any way indicative of ARS (absent any other symptoms typical of ARS such as fever, etc.)?

2. Would pain from swelling of the lymph nodes be constant or on and off? My guess is that they would be constant. If so, how would the pain feel?

3. She understands that swelling of lymph nodes can occur in the neck, armpit, and groin. How do you check for swollen glands in the armpit? LAST question: is it possible for the armpits to feel a little swollen (i.e., almost like fatty) on a transient basis (on and off like above) BUT NOT to have swollen lymph glands? If so, what other condition can cause this? Would cervicobracial syndrome be a candidate for this?

I am trying to help my wife find a new family doctor so that she will feel comfortable in the future asking these type of questions? In the meantime, however, your answer are highly appreciated

Response from Dr. Lee

The only way for her to know if she is infected is to be tested. I hope that the two of you are using safer sex until you are both secure that she has not acquired HIV.

1. During ARS, can lymph swelling be on and off? (absent any other symptoms typical of ARS such as fever, etc.)? A: Generally no. The swelling (and tenderness) does not change significantly from one day to the next.

2. Would pain from swelling of the lymph nodes be constant or on and off? My guess is that they would be constant. A: Mostly. If so, how would the pain feel? A: Not severe, just tender. (Like mono or strep.) 3. She understands that swelling of lymph nodes can occur in the neck, armpit, and groin. How do you check for swollen glands in the armpit? A: By feeling into the armpit when the arm is relaxed. LAST question: is it possible for the armpits to feel a little swollen (i.e., almost like fatty) on a transient basis (on and off like above) BUT NOT to have swollen lymph glands? A: Not typically. If so, what other condition can cause this? A: Don't know. Would cervicobracial syndrome be a candidate for this? A: No.

Be well.


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