[Question #434] HIV Symptoms and Testing - Extension Q 370

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100 months ago

Doc HooK

 This is an extension the closed question 370

 Today I did a general health checkup for my wife which included Chest X ray, Abdomen ultrasound, Pap smear and Blood test ( CBC, LFT and Creatine)

All the results came back normal except elevated LDL Cholesterol and the Chest Xray

The Chest X ray had the following observation which was not normal

“A linear fibro reticular opacity noted in the right lower zone in the pericardium region.

Rest of the lung fields appear normal.

Suggested clinical correlation and follow-up

Appreciate your inputs on the above

1) Is it linked to Pneumonia or TB and due to the HIV infection? I am quite scared because of the things i see on the internet?

2) Is it just a benign condition and has nothing to do with HIV?

3) is it a general occurrence and can be ignored as she does not have any pneumonia symptoms except neurological pain and vaginal burning symptoms which you had clarified in closed question 370 . She never had the above diseases in her life?


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H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
100 months ago
Welcome back. However, having scanned your discussion with Dr. Hook 3 weeks ago, I'm sorry to see your unwarranted (and to be honest, irrational) fears persist.

One of the main take-home messages from that thread, as well as many others you could review on this forum, is that the HIV tests are conclusive as long as enough time has passed since the last possible exposure (usually 4-6 weeks, always by 3 months). There are no exceptions. And also that certain kinds of contacts with other people carry absolutely no risk of HIV transmission. The corollary to those facts is that there are no symptoms of any kind, and no lab tests or xrays, that you have now or may develop in the future, that can possibly be caused by HIV from the non-risky exposure event that continues to play on your mind. None, never, nada, zilch, nunca, rien, nichevo! The same applies to any symptoms your wife has or may have in the future. You cannot go through life worrying about every little hangnail or sniffle as somehow being related to an event that was obviously risk free and for which you were proved by testing to not be infected.

Those comments answer your speicfic questions, but to be explicit:

1,2) For sure this xray result has nothing to do with HIV. It's probably nothing serious, but I cannot judge whether it might be related to a past TB exposure. Probably not, but your wife should ask her doctor.

3) The "neurological pin and vaginal burning" have nothing to do with HIV and probably are unconnected to the chest xray result.

I suggest you stop any online searching about HIV and its symptoms. You're obviously being drawn to information (out of context) that inflames your unwarranted fears and missing the reassuring bits. It isn't worth it.

Best regards--  HHH, MD

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100 months ago
Thanks for the assurance Dr HHH, I am trying hard to become normal and live normally and have stopped going to the internet now. But I go back one step for every two steps i take forward

I need your help on the following

1) My wife had a mammogram done as a part of the above health checkup. One of the details given in the report  is Bilateral small axillary lymph nodes noted. Is it normal to notice lymph nodes in a  mammogram report or they are visible only when they are enlarged or is it not normal ?

2) On the HIV Elisa test, how probable is an element of manual / lab error.  Are the findings and reading generally automated ?

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H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
100 months ago
Glad to hear my comments have helped -- and especially glad you've stopped torturing yourself by web searching these issues!

1) I'm not a mammography expert, but I'm pretty sure it is quite common for it to detect axillary (armpit) lymph nodes. Since they are small, I would assume they are normal, but this is something for her to ask her doctor about. In any case, they are not possibly due to HIV from you, since you are proved to not have it and to not have been at risk. You cannot go through life attributing every hangnail or other minor (or serious) health problem to that exposure or to HIV.

2) The HIV tests are highly automated and lab or human errors exceedingly rare if they occur at all. It is not a realistic concern.