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Please help me get my life back...
Aug 1, 2002

Dr. Frascino,

I used to be an easy-going, fun-loving person until the fear of HIV infection turned me into an introverted, paranoid loner. Over the past year and a half I have grown distant from my family and closest friends. I long for the way things used to be and the life I used to live. No matter what I do I can't seem to get over my irrational fear despite anxiety medication, counseling, and the re-assurance of my Physician. I have tested negative via ELISA and PCR several times - the latest being at 14 months post exposure. There are two main reasons I cannot get over this fear: 1) Bout of prostatitis 2 weeks after the act which sent me through the roof (I was tested for every STD at the time was cleared) and 2) appearance of several floaters in each one of my eyes. Although I realize eye floaters are common in the population, I am young (27) and didn't begin seeing them until 4 months after I committed the act - had unprotected sex with a prostitute at a buddies bachelor party - I have certainly learned my lesson. Overall I was healthy prior to the act and then all of a sudden I began to breakdown.

Of all the Physicians on The Body's website I enjoy reading your responses simply because of how compassionate and caring you are. You really do take the time to respond to those in need. I guess I am looking for some of the same. I really am at the end of my rope and am frustrated by my inability to get over this. It has crippled my life and it is time for me to break out of this fog, yet I am afraid to take the first step. Any advice? You're the best and may God bless you and the wonderful service you provide.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Thanks for your comments! Now let's take a closer look at those "2 main reasons" you mentioned for your ongoing HIV worries. First, prostatitis. This is an extremely common condition and not at all indicative of HIV. What ever gave you that idea? The fact that it occurred 2 weeks after the bachelor party does not have any potential significance for HIV. Second, floaters. Again, incredibly common and not indicative of HIV disease. If you pull a muscle lifting weights at the gym, are you going to blame that on HIV? Probably not (I hope). Why not? Because it's common to feel sore and to occasionally pull a muscle when working out, right? Same thing applies to other common medical conditions - floaters, common colds, bouts of prostatitis, etc. It's just part of being human. You have absolute and irrefutable proof that you are not HIV infected with your negative ELISA and PCR tests. HIV is not your problem. Stress, anxiety, guilt, and irrational fear are. You've tried anxiety medication and counseling. I suggest you see a psychiatrist to help you get over these very irrational fears. The psyche can get wounded and hurt just like any other body part or organ. See the specialist - a psychiatrist. Life is too precious a gift to waste in a fog of fear and guilt. Get the help you need to say goodbye to the introverted paranoid loner and welcome back to your easy going fun-loving self!

Good luck! Feel better.

Dr. Bob


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