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Mental Health
Jan 11, 2009

I recently contracted hiv, about 4 months ago, by being drugged without my knowledge and being used as a sex toy, while not conscious of what was happening, further to realize the situation a couple of weeks later when I developed symptoms of ars. I am not handling this well at all. I am currently a grad student in medicinal chemistry, only 25 years old, and had a truly dynamic future ahead of me -- best of which, my ability to present myself is uncanning (through lots of sales work). I just cant believe this has happened to me. I would never have a random sexual encounter, moreover would never not use a condom even in a stable relationship. I am going through intense ups and downs, where I tell myself -- I'm no ordinary person I can beat this if any can I can, then at other points in the day I am seriously considering suicide and searching the web as the most appropriate of ways. I understand no one asks for this disease, but find it hard to accept it since I did not consciously have unprotected sex with anyone, like most who now acquire it have. I come from a really great family, and I love the person I have gradually becoming. And this situation is just intolerable to me, and my psyche. I really dont know what to do. The mood swings are extreme. Not extreme in the sense that I am ever really happy, but from under control to extreme panic, anxiety, even as I write this I still shock myself that this is actually my situation. MY LIFE was taken away from me, I really was looking forward to great things both professional and personally. I really dont know what to do. The thought of taking antivirial with huge side effects for the rest of my life, undergo HUGE stigma from family, friends, and acquaintances, insecure job future, personal relationships hurdles, deteriating body -- all for something I would not have risked in the first place is very much way to overwhelming to handle. I really just want to go out somewhere and die, and not be noticed by anyone. Sadly, this is not possible, my suicide would irresversibly hurt the people who mean the most to me in my life, and that scares me to death. But I dont really see another option. I am so scared, SO MAD, I want to find this guy and KILL HIM. I dont think I can cope -- my seemingly 'perfect' life has been destroyed permanently. I am so confused, I consider myself I tough person and can triumph over anything, but this -- this is just unreal. So my question to you, and please please answer -- this may be my only meaningful lifeline, firstly are my intense intense mood swings related to the hiv infection itself (i can actually feel activity in my brain physically (like a pinching sensation)) and the intense depression exaggerated by the hiv itself and not only the horrible method of acquisition. I really want to end it all, and soon, the pain is just unreal. I usually wake up in the morning in a panic and disbelief and eventually able to get myself out of bed, as I read and read more about the condition and support groups online my spirits become at least settled, and then I go back into panic. I cant even look at friends and classmates, all I think how lucky they are to have their whole lifes in front of them. I don't know what to say, but I am seriously seriously suicidal. Anything would help. Thanks.

Response from Dr. Horwath

You should seek professional help from a psychologist or psychiatrist. Your emotional swings and thoughts of suicide are signs of depression. You would benefit from a good evaluation and treatment. You can be helped. Also, you should realize that you can still have the productive life that you were hoping for. Many people have productive lives in spite of HIV infection. But you do need to seek treatment for your emotional problems. Then you need to be followed for your HIV infection.



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