Should I take antibiotics for a sore throat?

Question

Hello, I was diagnosed as HIV + in May of 2007 upon which my T Cell count was 637 and VL at 26,400. I figured my seroconversion occured in August of 2006. My last batch of labs came back one week ago with a T Cell count of 1088 and VL about 40,000. I quit smoking and have been drinking the Acai berry as a supplement as well as green tea. I am trying to stay off of meds as long as possible however I am now sick with a sore throat. My glands are swollen and I've lost my voice but I do not yet have fever. I presum eit is laryngitis and not strep but do not have the strep results. My general practitioner gave me a prescription for antibiotics and said to use them, "if needed." Should I take my antibiotics or not? She mentioned as well that HIV+ individuals should not take too many antibiotics. Any advice you could give would be much appreciated. Thanks!

Answer

Hello, and thanks for posting.

The short answer is that antibiotics are indicated if the infection represents a bacterial process. Most of the time laryngitis is due to a viral infection and antibiotics do not provide any benefit (and may produce side effects of course).

Talk to your doctor and see what she meant when she said to take antibiotics if needed. One can presume she meant for you to start if the test for Streptococcus (a bacterial infection) was positive.