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Scared beyond belief and disappointed in myself.
May 18, 2011

Dr. Bob. I had protected receptive anal sex 7 weeks ago with a total stranger. 2 weeks later my rectum burned and my right testicle was elevated. I went to my general practitioner who did a urinalysis and said that it wasn't infectious put me on cipro and sent me on my way. A week later I was so scared I went to a urologist who did a testicular ultrasound and another urinalysis. Again it's not infectious, don't worry. A week later I was again so scared that I went to the local doc in the box and told them my symptoms. They did blood work put me on doxycycline and gave me a gluteal shot. All test results negative including HIV were negative. Now 3 weeks later my chest where my right lung is feels like it is burning, my throat hurts and I have a rash on either side of my jaw that looks like eczema. It's slightly darker than my skin color and looks like flaky limply eczema. My right testicle is also still elevated. I am nauseous, I have no appetite, I have a couple of tiny bumps on my right thigh and left foot. I was so scared that I went to the emergency room last Thursday and was basically blown off. I demanded another HIV test, which they humored. I am waiting for the results but I am beside myself. I have a wife who is pregnant. I am surely going to hell but I am so scared for her and our baby. What do you think of my symptoms?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

You posted your question to the wrong forum. This forum is dedicated to HIV-positive folks, especially those with questions about HIV-associated fatigue and/or anemia. However, because you're such an anxious wreck I'll respond and post the reply in the prevention/safer sex forum as well as here, OK?

Protected sex is indeed protected, assuming the latex condom was used properly and didn't break.

Your symptoms are quite classic! Classic for anxiety, guilt and depression, not HIV!

You have a pregnant wife at home and yet you went out and had receptive anal sex. Wisely you used protection. Your problem is not HIV, but rather guilt leading to anxiety and depression. Obsessing about HIV is just avoidance behavior because you don't want to deal with more difficult issues, such as guilt, sexual orientation and infidelity. I very strongly recommend you consult a licensed mental health practitioner (psychiatrist or psychologist) to help you confront your irrational fears of HIV and your anxiety/depression and to delve into sexual orientation issues. For your guilt I'd recommend you level with your wife. It's not only the most effective way to confront your guilt, but it's also the right thing to do.

No, you're not going to hell. However you are currently residing in your own self-induced worried-well hell. Psychotherapeutic counseling to help you confront your various issues is the best way out.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob


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