Reactive lymph nodes & other symptoms

Question

Dear Dr,

I am a young male with enlarged (~1cm) cervical lymph nodes on both sides that came up during a short viral illness 16 months ago, and have stayed that size since. They are still quite tender and look like they're here to stay. My doctor said they were "reactive" to something like EBV although he didn't test for this. Why I am worried is that 2 months before the illness I had unprotected vaginal sex with a woman who has had many partners. I have had a few HIV antibody tests up to the 16 month mark from the sex -- all have been negative. This should allay my fears, but this year I have had bad gingivitis, cheilitis and recurring balanitis with my current girlfriend. Should I worry about HIV with the lymph nodes & other symptoms combined, or forget about the nodes? I'm worried I could infect my girlfriend.

Thank you, and apologies for the long question.

Answer

It doesn't sound like you have HIV, but if it has been a while since your last test and you now have another partner, you can get tested again to put your mind at ease. Certainly the kinds of problems you are experiencing can occur without HIV infection.