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Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Could I have HIV and not know it?"

ZocdocAnswersCould I have HIV and not know it?

Question

I worked as a phlebotomists for a year. One of which I kept getting sick. Now I have a yeast infection that won't go away and two cold sores along with weird extreme sweating. I have dne a little research and some say its the start of HIV. Is it possible that I had a needle stick and gotten aids without knowing it?

Answer

I would suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. My first question for you is whether or not you ever had a needlestick. A needlestick is really not something that people get without knowing it. If you cannot recall ever being stuck by a needle than most like you never were. The other consideration here is the chances of obtaining the HIV virus from a needlestick. Even if you are drawing blood from a person that is known to be HIV-positive and is not being treated for HIV, being stuck by a needle that was inside this person only transmits HIV around one in 500 or 1000 times. Thus right from the start it is very unlikely that you attained HIV through a needlestick especially if you can't remember a time when you were stuck with a needle. The second consideration is the fact that the yeast infection (assuming that you are referring to a vaginal yeast infection) is not necessarily a symptom of HIV or AIDS. These kinds of infections can occur for many reasons. In addition, cold sores are infections with the HSV virus which is a type of infection that occurs in people with normal immune systems. Now if you were to develop an infection that was typical of AIDS such as a PCP pneumonia than this would change your situation. Again, I would suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. Everybody should get tested for HIV at least once in the life and perhaps this is a good time for you to be tested.

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