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STD Advice Column
HIV Symptoms?


Firstly, I realize how paranoid I get when I get a sore throat or a pain in my head. I had a partner a while ago whom I had unprotected sex with towards the later stages of our relationship. We were together for about 6 months and had unprotected sex maybe 4 times about the last month of being together.

I am female, by the way. He went away for a week to another city and when he came back he had a bad flu like symptom with heavy coughing and his chest hurt badly when he coughed. He was also terribly tired due to his sickness. I didn't think anything at the time. He told me he hadn't been with anyone which I believe and still believe as he had a tendency of being very honest at the worst of times.

It has now been 6 months since we broke up. About 6 weeks ago, I started tasting a bad metallic taste in my mouth which lasted 3-4 weeks. Three or so weeks into it, my tongue started to display signs of geographic tongue and the day after I had a filing put in, my tongue burnt for hours like you wouldn't believe. The dentist suggested iron and b12 tablets. Also a healthier diet as I lived on McDonalds.

The doc also suggested garlic tablets. The garlic made the metallicness disappear instantly. The tongue took a week or so to return to normal. During this time, I also had two tiny white ulcers on my gums which disappeared after three or so days. I also had at random times a bad onion like smell that would rise from the back of my throat and would stay for a few minutes. My garlic tablets ran out last weak and I noticed a slight dryness or bitterness return but only slight. I stopped worrying after this all went away, but about two weeks ago I was feeling inside my mouth for the smell and noticed my left tonsil had a lump on it. My worrying immediately returned. Every now and then I would notice tiny red dots on the roof of my mouth towards the back of my throat, which itched, then minutes later would go away. The doc says it's a bacterial infection, but really...can it last for almost 2 months????

Basically, can this be a sign of HIV infection after like I said.... five months??? I have since spoken to him and he says he is fine and that he has even had an STD test after me and was ok.. I am still in doubt! So....can this be happening after five months? And are they symptoms of HIV or is my doc right? I have seen four different docs and my dentist and they all say it's not HIV or STD. But how do you know without testing??? I did have a blood count test done and all came back normal. I have had slight under arm pain but seems to be the tendons and the skin, slight pain behind right knee and I seem to have hard lumps where my leg meets my hips, but the lumps are the same on both sides. Am I freaking over nothing???

Other than that, no sweating (unless it's hot), no flu or cold (except the throat things), no oral thrush or candida apparently ( I did do the saliva in water test and it did droop in strings to the bottom)..and no fevers ever!!! Please help!!! I'm going out of my mind! I know people think I'm para, but I have reason to think this as I did have unprotected sex with someone who had flu like symptoms at some point.
~ Paranoid

Dear Paranoid,

Part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle includes controlling the stress in our lives. It sounds like you have a lot of stress over this situation and you need to bring yourself to a state of peace of mind so that your constant worrying doesn't affect your health.

First, you're doing the right thing by visiting a doctor because of your problems. Only a doctor can properly diagnose why you are having these problems.

It seems that one underlying fear you have is that of HIV. According the CDC, syptoms of HIV may (emphasis on may) include:

» rapid weight loss
» dry cough
» recurring fever or profuse night sweats
» profound and unexplained fatigue
» swollen lymph glands in the armpits, groin, or neck
» diarrhea that lasts for more than a week
» white spots or unusual blemishes on the tongue, in the mouth, or in the throat
» pneumonia
» red, brown, pink, or purplish blotches on or under the skin or inside the mouth, nose, or eyelids
» memory loss, depression, and other neurological disorders

There's only one way for you to gain the peace of mind you need regarding your situation and that is to go have an HIV test done. If you feel uncomfortable requesting this specific test, then simply request a complete STD test, which should include an HIV test. You cannot know for sure if you have HIV without having a test done. And because it can take up to six months for HIV to become noticeable to a blood test, you should have the test repeated after six months if you had one (and it was negative) prior to six months.

Also, be sure to see your doctor about the lump on your left tonsil. In fact, you may want to write down all your questions/concerns in advance of seeing your doctor so that you can get answers to all of your questions. There's also nothing wrong with seeking a second doctor opinion if it will help you worry less. Best of luck to you.


If you have a question for the STD Advice column, simply put your question in the anonymous form below and click Submit. Once you click Submit, your question will be anonymously emailed to us. While we can't answer or publish all questions, we do try to questions within a one week period of submission. Check back to see if yours is answered.

Only a physician can properly diagnose whether or not you have an STD. Thus it is important that you get an STD test done if you have a concern. None of the advice given in this column is a substitute for physician advice.

If you think you may have a sexually transmitted disease, you should see a physician immediately to be properly diagnosed and treated. You should not try to diagnose or treat symptoms on your own.

Getting Help for an STD >

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