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HIV and AIDS

Are There Any Other Tests To Find Out If I Am Positive?

03/15/2005

Question:

Hi. First of all sorry for my poor English. I had protected sex with a high risk person 4 weeks ago. I got a cold after 2 days and started to have enlarged lymph nodes behind my left ear and under my left armpit after 3 weeks. I went to see the doctor and he gave me some medicine. I started to have night sweats continuously for 3 nights. I have done a lot of research on the internet that states these could be HIV symptoms since it is not natural to have enlarged lymph nodes and night sweats at the same time.

Actually I have done a test after I found the symptoms right away, the result came out negative, but I know it is too early to do a test since the body does not contain many anti-virus to get the test. The doctor said I have no choice, but to do a test after 3 months. Is there any otherway to find out if I am infected, such as a viral load test? Because I am so worried in the meanwhile and the symptoms keep on coming out and I can`t even sleep at night.

Is there any other common illness that will cause the night sweating and enlarged lymph nodes? If I get HIV infected, is it 100% that it will turn into AIDS? Looking forward to your reply. Thanks

Answer:

The symptoms you describe (enlarged lymph nodes, night sweats) could be seen in someone with recently acquired (acute) HIV infection.  Other symptoms often seen with acute HIV are sore throat, rash, fever and headache.  These symptoms are nonspecific, meaning that other infections and conditions can cause them.  Things to consider would include mononucleosis, cytomegalovirus, toxoplasmosis, and cancers such as lymphoma.  A repeat HIV test would be recommended 6 and 12 weeks after the exposure.  An HIV RNA test could be useful, but there are sometimes false positive tests associated with RNA testing, and it is not approved by the FDA for HIV diagnosis. (It is approved for staging HIV, and for monitoring treatment.)

 

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Response by:

Peter Grubbs, MD
Assistant Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati