Anonymous
Hi,

my exposure was on the 16th December 2015. It was unprotected vagial sex with a man that I know but I am not 100% sure of his status. Neither is he. According to what he told me (which might be of course not necessary true) he at least twice donated his blood (last time probably in 2014) but apart from that never has been hiv tested. Having that in mind, I found a swollen lymph node after 10 days after exposure. I can not remember having such a lymph node ever. I could see it through my neck skin. Over next few days (no more that a week) it has halved. Now I can still feel it, my doctor says it is no larger that a pea. It has been 6 weeks now and I have not developed any other symptoms. I have not been tested yet as I know there is 3 month-mark best for that.

Should I be worried?
I would be grateful for your help.
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Anonymous
Hello and thanks for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Helpline.

I can appreciate that this is an anxious time for you after your experience of unprotected vaginal intercourse, which is considered a high risk activity. I am glad to see that you are planning to get tested at 3 months. The only way to know if you have acquired HIV is through a blood test, and testing at 3 months after exposure will give you a conclusive result that you can trust.

Symptoms are not used to diagnose HIV because they can look like symptoms associated with various conditions including flu or colds. You say that your doctor has reassured you that your swollen lymph node is improving; if that were to change I would encourage you to visit your doctor.

Condoms when used correctly are always a good way to help protect both you and your partner from acquiring HIV and other STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections). Also if you are sexually active you could consider establishing a routine of regular testing for HIV and STIs, every few months of depending on how frequently you are sexually active.

You are about half way to getting tested, so if you wish, you could get a test before the 12 week period since the testing window is between 4 to 12 weeks. This may help to ease your mind. However for a final, conclusive result testing at 12 weeks (3 months) is still recommended.

I wish you all the best and invite you to contact the Helpline again if you receive a positive result, or if you have other HIV related questions.

Regards,

Marnelle
Helpline Volunteer
AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online

helpline.aidsvancouver.org

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