[Question #1802] HIV Follow Up

42 months ago
This is a follow-up to Question 1780.

In short, I received and performed oral sex with another man claiming to be disease free.  No anal sex in either direction or penetration of any kind.  No anal contact whatsoever.  I have developed some unusual symptoms which have me concerned that I may have acquired HIV.  I am fully aware that my potential exposure was low risk, but I want to get a sense from your experience about what newly acquired HIV symptoms look like.  

I also understand some people exhibit no symptoms.  Is that, in practice, a reality or is that just something that's on the internet?

I have no fever or rash of any kind.  I do have swollen glands, which are a bit concerning.

Basically, just trying to get a better understanding of how HIV presents itself.  

PS:  I have contacted my PCP to order HIV blood test.  As Dr H pointed out, I think I need that reassurance.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
42 months ago

Welcome back to our Forum.  As it happened, today I happened to pick up your follow-up post.  I have reviewed your interaction with Dr. Handsfield and agree with all that he said. 

Yes, some people can acquire HIV without symptoms. Estimates of the proportion of persons in whom this occurs vary, any where from 30-70% of persons who acquire HIV.  This wide variation reflects the fact that the symptoms of HIV can vary. 

Swollen glands are a non-specific finding.  In the absence of other findings, I would not worry, particularly if there are no other symptoms.

I agree with Dr. Handsfield and now you that a blood test is a good idea.  The basis of my recommendation is that this encounter and the slight possibility of HIV is clearly on your mind.  A negative blood test will provide you with definitive evidence that you were not infected by the encounter you describe, hopefully allowing you to move forward without further concern.  I hope my comments are helpful as well.  EWH

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42 months ago
Thanks Dr Hook.

I'm trying not to worry, as I understand the odds of my being infected from this single encounter are astronomically low.

Is it unusual for swollen glands to be the only symptom?  In other words, if I was going to be symptomatic is it likely the swollen glands would accompany other symptoms?  If so, what might they be?  I ask because I actually don't feel that bad, and I suspect anxiety might be playing a part here.

How quickly after the blood draw are results usually available for the 4th Gen test?







42 months ago
Just to update my post from a couple of days ago, I have been to the lab for the blood draw.  They are also testing for Gonorhea and Chlamydia (urine sample given), even though I am certain those are not likely an issue.  
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
42 months ago
As I said before, swollen glands are quite non-specific.  Abnormally swollen glands are also hard to diagnose.  You did not describe your nodes and I would urge you not to worry.  Thr 4th generation HIV  take only a few hours to perform in the laboratory. Typically results back to you in a day or two. I am confident that when you get your results they will be negative. EWH---
42 months ago
Thanks again.  I'm also confident the result will be negative.  As for my nodes, I do feel like something is going on with them, but it's hard to say if that's a heightened sense of awareness or an actual issue.  The only node that I can feel is a small bump behind left ear, but again, I'm not entirely sure what I would be feeling around for and I don't want to start poking things.  I also reached out to my partner who indicates he is clean and is "tested regularly".  Also, he and I both are most commonly in heterosexual relationships,  which I understand is lower risk overall than gay relationships that involve anal sex.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
42 months ago

You really need to figure out a way to move on about this.  If you are hung up on what you think may be abnormally swollen lymph nodes, you should see a doctor, not try to sort things out yourself or seek answers in the internet..

You are correct that for all STIs, not just HIV, at this time male same sex sexual activity is a greater risk activity than heterosexual sex.

This is my third reply to your current question which, as you know, is the limit of our responses.  This thread will be closed later today.  EWH

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42 months ago
Thanks again.  Got results.  As expected, all tests negative with the exception of HSV-1, which I already knew I had because I have had cold sores in the past.  4th Gen HIV was negative, as was all other tests.  

Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
42 months ago
Glad to hear it.  Stay safe.  EWH
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