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At my wits end - PLEASE respond
Feb 4, 2003

I am married and my husband is HIV -ve. I have engaged in no risky exposure at all. But I now have some white patches on both sides of my tongue that seem to go with scraping and then appear again a few days later. This has been going on for a month now. I am not on antibiotics or any other possible cause and I am pretty sure this is thrush.

I am really scared and don't know WHAT to do. Looking back, the only possible "exposure" is that I got some immunizations a year and a half ago in a rather low-income neighbourhood clinic in Southern California. The nurse was not wearing gloves and she had already prepared the syringes when she came into the room - I called them up a few days later (since it bothered me a bit) and asked them if they used new syringes as a policy and they said that they did.

But other than that I really don't know WHY I have thrush. Could the nurse have infected me??? I am just too scared now. I have been completely stressed out and having bouts of fatigue.

I recently got my CBC's, sedrate and ANA done (for arthritis) - and all the counts were normal (1.5 years after that immunization encounter). I really would like you advice on what to do??? I am just PETRIFIED to get tested and have been completely stressed out and making my husband's life a living hell with my worry... PLEASE HELP!!!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

"Worried well" questions must be sent to our HIV Prevention/Safer Sex forum, not this "Fatigue and Anemia" forum, which is dedicated to folks who are confirmed HIV-positive.

Briefly, you have all the "classic symptoms" - not of HIV, but of "worried well." You've had "no risky exposures at all," and your husband is HIV negative. Whatever makes you think you could be HIV-infected? Rest assured that even the "low-income neighborhood" clinics do not reuse needles!

Second, white patches on the tongue may not be thrush, even though you are "pretty sure this is thrush." Even if it were (and I doubt it), thrush can be caused by lots of conditions other than HIV.

So what's your problem? You've answered that in your question. You are "completely stressed out and making your husband's life a living hell with your worry." Please help? Sure, that's easy. Get a referral to a psychiatrist or counselor for evaluation and treatment of your irrational fear of non-existent HIV. Your doctor or dentist can help you evaluate the white patches, which, by the way, may well be perfectly normal.

You don't need an HIV test, but you do need to get help for your anxiety/stress - for both your sake and for the sake of your marriage.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob


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