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Insertive Oral Sex and a Worried Well's Post Trauma
Dec 21, 2005

Hmm, where to begin? I think it all started in an alley way in Bangkok, Thailand. Actually, truth be told, it started about 2 hours before in a bar where I had too much to drink. I got talking to this very attractive Thai girl and after a whole lotta Thai beer we decided to go someplace a bit quieter. And that we did. We started kissing when she told me what her prices were. To be honest, I wasnt supprised she turned out to be a prostitute but after that much beer and the fact that she was seriously fine soon knocked the moral high ground on the head. We went to her room and I had some level of sense, saying I didnt want penetrative sex because I knew there was a high level of HIV in Thailand. So we kissed & she performed oral sex and I didnt wear a condom. I didnt wear a condom because I thought oral sex was 100% safe. So we had a happy ending, or I did anyway, I suppose her happy ending was the getting money for the services rendered.

So off I went back to my hotel, cleaned up had a shower and went to sleep. There was no big drama the next day, I woke up & thought Hmmm that wasnt very smart but you didnt have sex so its fine. I had that thought in between the throbs of my hangover which wasnt helped by the humidity and heat in Thailand at 12 in the afternoon. But thats what I thought for the rest of my holiday. I came back home to Ireland and hooked up with a girl who I dated before my trip. We developed a strong sexual relationship and didnt use condoms as she was taking an oral contraceptive. So all was merry in my world. I was just back from a great trip, it was the summer, and I was now seeing a very hot girl. All was good.

About 2 weeks later, I developed pains in my urethra when I was going to the toilet. I havent slept with many women so I wasnt familiar with STDs. I passed it off (pardon the pun) as dehydration. When the pain got worse, I started to worry. There was a strange smell coming from my penis and it was emitting cloudy liquid. I had a feeling it was an STD that I picked up from either Thailand or the new girl. At this time, I was suffering from reoccurring tonsillitis, and I was feeling fluey, like a flu was going to hit but didnt fully materialise. I was running a high fever at night & sweating. Then about 2 days later I developed diarrhoea for a week and I was getting sick. All the time the other problems were persisting. I didnt really know what was going on as Im never sick for any length of time. I hadnt thrown up in over 10 years.

So what did I do? Yup, you got it. I googled it. The worse mistake Ive ever made. Initially I thought I had Chlamydia or VD. Then I started reading about HIV. I had nearly every symptom, except thrush. I remember reading the symptoms of HIV and then I read how it could be contracted.. Insertive Oral Sex. My jaw dropped and my stomach turned into a knot. I looked up a different site, same story. I was starting to fit the bill. I had the symptoms and the time frame was perfect. This was about 6 weeks after my romp in Thailand. That night I stayed up until 7am reading articles and websites. I was numb. I read that it was unlikely but possible. By this stage I had also correctly diagnosed myself as having Chlamydia. The next day I didnt eat or sleep, I was starting to develop a level of fear that I had never experienced. I also had small rashes on my back. This was a Sunday so there was no way for me to get to a doctor & be tested. I started believing I was HIV+. Then 2 things dawned on me.

Firstly, I had unprotected sex several times with my new girlfriend and secondly, my sister who is diabetic had tested me a few days previously to make sure my blood sugar levels were ok. She then tested herself straight after. She used the same device to draw blood from me on herself & there was still some of my blood on it when she used it on herself. This day, the bottom fell out of my world. I didnt speak to anyone, I didnt eat, and I didnt sleep. I became so depressed and then became constipated from the anxiety and depression that I was feeling.

I stayed awake in front of the computer googling for the whole night and the next morning I went to the doctor where he did a full STD sweep. He told me it was possible but not probable. He then told me that because of our location in Ireland, it would take 2 weeks to get the result. The thought of that made me sick. Nearly everyday of that 2 weeks was the same. I didnt eat or sleep, I just cried and imagined how I would tell me boss, my family, my friends.. How I could never have kids, how I could have infected other people. I thought my life as I knew it was over. I thought I was going to die. I thought I would have to move away from my home to protect my family from any stigma.

The one thing that shone through all this darkness was this website. It was a source of hope for me. Over that week, I read more & began to realise that its unlikely that I had it and my depression was lifting.

I went to see a film with a friend and noticed that my tongue felt strange. I went to the WC to check & it looked white. My throat was infected looking & was white. I thought Its oral thrush, thats it.. Its conclusive. I sat the whole way thro the rest of the film with tears in my eyes & went straight home. I cut myself off for a week. I became heavily depressed, I lost over 14 pounds weight and felt like I couldnt talk to anyone except for the people on the websites that I had discovered. I didnt tell anyone what was going on. I just told anyone who asked that I was waiting on some results about a kidney problem. I became Neurotic. I began checking every part of my body, all the time. If I felt an itch on my back, I thought it might be the start of a lesion. I was breaking out in sweats from the fear I was feeling. After the 2 weeks had passed, I called the doctor. My results werent in.. This happened three times and I dont think I could have become more afraid and depressed. Then he eventually rang me and sounded very downhearted. He asked me if I was alone and ok to talk, I could feel my stomach gurgling. He said, Im sorry but you have to be treated for Chlamydia. I was saying.. ok ok ok, but what about my bloods. He said they were fine but you have to be retested in 2 months for HIV. It was the first time in a month that I felt happy. I went straight to him & got the antibiotics for Chlamydia.

But then 3 days later, I started becoming very depressed again. I started worrying about everyone around me. I projected. I realised that if I could become sick, then anyone could. I feared for my family. It was all very irrational. I began missing my friends like I never did before. I got so depressed because of the seasons changing. I felt like I lost half of my summer. I went back to work and it just felt wrong. Being at home was feeling wrong. Every thing felt wrong. I put it down to my senses being overloaded from my initial scare so I gave it 2 weeks and I started feeling better. I went out with friends and had a lot to drink. I woke up the next day & felt like my world had fallen apart again. I felt so depressed and I could put my finger on why. I tried to get through it but again I became constipated, I couldnt sleep and I wasnt eating. Another 2 weeks passed & I wasnt feeling better. I couldnt do anything; I was just getting upset at everything and everyone. I felt like I was alone in the world. Everyone was going to die, I would be left on my own.. Everything was wrong. I couldnt talk to anyone.

At this stage I thought I had to do something so I booked in with a councillor. After a session of me pouring out all my feelings for the first time in 2 months. She told me that I was suffering from Post Trauma Depression. The feelings that I initially stirred up were never released. Ive been seeing the councillor since, its been a month now. It hasnt been easy but Ive started putting it all behind me. I never really felt I could until today. I got the second set of blood results back, my 2nd HIV test. Im negative. Finally I have closure on it and I do feel better. Ive beaten the depression and now Im working on trying to feel happy again. Im still picking up some pieces but its coming together, thanks to the help Ive received from the councillor and some friends and family. I knew after my first blood test that I was probably negative so I dealt with it on a cognitive level but I never dealt with the emotions. I dont want to go into details but all I can say is over the last 2 months, Ive had days where Ive questioned everything. Ive felt so down that I couldnt do my job, I couldnt listen to people, I couldnt have sex, I couldnt enjoy anything. I just felt like everything was black. I felt like I had a hole of emotional pain burning in my stomach.

Im glad to say that I am now nearly there, I can see the end of the tunnel coming up. Im definitely enjoying life and now I have closure on that experience I had. I dont know if its something that will ever leave me but so be it. I definitely have a new awareness of people and how easily life can be taken away and how we should appreciate our own lives and the lives of those around us. I know it sounds like I work for hallmark but thats how I feel now. The reason I want to write this note is because, at the peak of my fear I dreamt of being able to write this and tell the world Im ok. I can wohoo! And that makes me feel good. I also wanted to write this for anyone that ever finds themselves feeling like I did. I have some advice for people.

If youre scared, talk to people. Be it family, friends, or a professional. Do not go through the fear on your own. You may need someone just to put perpective on how you feel. People might be able to rationalise your fear.

Do not diagnose yourself. You cannot diagnose yourself. I was just unlucky. I never had oral thrush, it was just a reoccurrence of my tonsillitis and I had some complications from the Chlamydia and the fluey feeling I had was from the tonsillitis. Everything can be explained now that I look back on it. The symptoms for HIV are too like other common problems to diagnose yourself. Talk to a professional and get tested straight away if you are worried.

If you find that you are googling all the time, or checking to see if that new spot on your back is a symptom. STOP. You will selectively read things! Go to a doctor and get tested. Do not use the web as a reliable way of diagnosing yourself.

DO NOT be ashamed to talk to a councillor. Fear is a natural response. Talk to a professional. IT WILL NOT do any harm. It can only help.

DO NOT bottle everything up like I did. It took me 2 months of working on myself and seeing a professional to get myself straight again. Seek help if you feel down or depressed. Talk to people who will listen.

Remember that if you do have someone perform oral sex on you and you dont know their status. You should wear protection that there is a theoretical risk but if for whatever reason that you didnt, its very difficult to catch HIV. You may pick up something like Chlamydia like I did a lot easier. Unfortunately where I live in the country, we dont have sophisticated medical equipment and the doctor had to insert a large swab inside my penis which really really hurt, so use protection!!

Anyway, this is my story. And now I want to put it to bed. I dont know if you will put my story online or not. If you do, I hope it helps someone out there. Its not easy to get through. If not, thanks anyway for the help and information you provided me at a very difficult time in my life. This will be me signing off on this chapter, literally.

Thanks, be clever, and good health to you all.

Ps sorry for the type-os, this was more of a series of thoughts than a structured essay!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Thank you for taking the time to share your story. I'm delighted that "the one thing that shone through all this darkness was this Web site."

Be well; stay well; Noel!

Dr. Bob


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