I want to bring to the attention of the public that one of the early symptoms of HIV is lumps on the neck, or swollen lymph nodes. In all the books I've found regarding this, the indication is that these usually go away fairly early on in this disease. Well, I am here to tell you that this symptom does not always go away and can hang around for years. I am an example of this. For over 10 years I've had lumps on my neck that were dismissed (by some doctors) as nothing more than fat deposits, and nothing to worry about. Two surgeons to whom I was referred to evaluate these (after 10 years) said they were nothing to worry about, and they advised against a lymph node biopsy to see what they were. When I finally did have a lymph node biopsy, two separate labs diagnosed the tissues as "malignant lymphoma". Turns out they were wrong. They were actually HIV! (And laboratories KNOW there is enough of a difference between the two to find this out!) My lymph nodes were actually reacting to this virus. I was not diagnosed with this virus, most likely because I'm a 57 year old woman who has not been in a relationship in some time, and most doctors do not consider someone my age to be at risk for this disease, when in fact, 15% of all newly diagnosed cases of HIV are women over 50. The American public needs to be aware of this, and EVERYONE needs to insist that their doctors test them for this virus, even if they do not think they could possibly have it, or if their doctor pooh-poohs it. I nearly died because of the negligence of doctors I had gone to over a 4 year period, who did not even consider this to be a possibility for me. Wake up, people!
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