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HIV and AIDS

Is There a Connection Between HIV and Mono?

03/21/2002

Question:

About a month and a half ago, my boyfriend came down with what seemed to be strep throat. He received antibiotics and steriods to relieve the symptoms. However, once the medication ran out, it came back again. Last week, his doctor had him take a blood test which came back positive for mono. It`s pretty obvious to us both that he got it from me, but now he wants me to take a blood test as well. He wants to make sure I don`t have anything more serious. We`re both concerned that it may be HIV, but wouldn`t his blood test have revealed that? (We first had sexual intercourse about 4 months ago).

Answer:

It is really difficult to give personal advice via email without asking more questions. Here is what I can tell you. Mononucleosis `Mono` is a viral infection that is common in teenagers. It causes sore throat, swollen glands and tiredness amongst other things. It is usually passed by kissing or direct contact with saliva. There is no link between Mono and HIV. That is to say that if you have Mono it does not mean you are more likely to have HIV. In this day and age, I would recommend all sexually active persons get tested for HIV infection. I also think that if you and your boyfriend don`t want to get pregnant then hopefully you are using some type of pregnancy prevention. Condoms (latex) are useful in preventing the spread of HIV and other diseases transmitted through sex. It would be fine for you and your boyfriend to both be tested for HIV. Just because the doctor ran some tests does not mean they specifically ran tests for HIV. Typically, you have to sign a permission form to allow for HIV testing. Hopefully with this information you and your boyfriend can make some good decisions on testing.

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Response by:

Carl   Fichtenbaum, MD Carl Fichtenbaum, MD
Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati