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I'm so scared I ruined my life!
Dec 26, 2011

Hey Dave,

I'm 19 and I just found out that my 21 year old girlfriend of 8 months has cheated on me with at least 4 partners during our time going out (I'm not sure if she had protected sex with them, but I always was unprotected with her). I just found out almost 2 weeks ago, before I decided to dump her. Supposedly, based on close friends, she stopped cheating around our 5th month of us going out, and we always had sex frequently during our relationship. During our 4th month she had a skin lesion near her mouth, and developed to swollen lymph nodes on her neck including fatigue. At the time I had no clue she was cheating but I did frequently suspect it. She supposedly went to Planned Parenthood and got tested for everything immediately when all that happened, and everything all came back negative(so she says). She mainly blames her new birth control cycle on it..ugh. I recently got tested last week ( a week after our last sexual intercourse and breakup) because I was bugging out about her having HIV type symptoms, and my test came out negative (which was a relief). But now I'm still worrying terribly about it because I feel like I may have taken it too early..even though I got tested around 2 months after her last cheat. What do you think? I have my whole life ahead of me to look forward to, and I'm ruining my time dwelling on this issue. Should I still worry? Aghhh! What do you think, Dave?

Response from Dr. Fawcett

Thank you for writing. I know it's difficult to process all the feelings of betrayal, a breakup, and worrying about HIV. I can only advise continuing to get tested because of all the unknown factors in your relationship. To be certain, you should test through six months after your last unprotected encounter. In the meantime you are going to have to concentrate on not getting too far ahead of yourself by worrying about the results. Chances are you are fine, but the tests will give you peace of mind.

Every couple should have some serious conversations about how they are going to handle their relationship and potential risk. Some get tested together and share their results (I mean actually looking at the paper). Some don't have unprotected sex until after a certain period of time together. You have great experiences ahead of you - confirm you are negative, learn what you need to, and enjoy life!

-David



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