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HIV Symptoms or is anxiety getting the best of me?

Jun 16, 2013

I've been with 6 men in the last 6 months. All 6 have been fellatio only, without ejaculation in my mouth (Unprotected). They have all claimed to be STD free. It wasn't until my most recent encounter 15 days ago while on vacation, that I became worried.

Symptoms so far: I had a sore throat 2 days after which lasted for 3 days. I have some discomfort in my back and neck. No rash or cough. No neck pain or visible lymph node issues. When I returned from vacation, I did develop a stuffy nose, and had some bloody phlegm which I was coughing up for a few days. Today I'm starting to notice I feel a bit dizzy. This morning I started having some pain in my left shoulder.

While on vacation I was in a 90 degree environment, very hot and dry, and was mostly in air conditioned environments. I came home to weather in the 70s and rainy. I do have seasonal allergies. Since I started coughing up the phlegm (which has stopped), I started taking my temperature twice a day, and have never been above 97.8.

I started to suspect if I had contracted gonorrhea at first (been tested as of yesterday, awaiting results). In my research, my general fear and worry shifted the focus to possibly having HIV. It has sent my life into a complete spiral, and I cannot go through a day without wondering if I have it or not.

While I hurry up and wait, I'm looking to see if someone can specifically attest to the symptoms I'm having. I know there is no definite answer without the proper test, but are these things I'm experiencing a legitimate worry, or is my anxiety causing me to develop these symptoms to trick my body into thinking I have it?

I feel like I'm losing myself slowly, and my worrying is getting the best of me.

Response from Dr. Fawcett


Thanks for writing. There is extremely low risk for HIV in the behavior you describe (unless there was blood contact). You are correct that all of your symptoms are very general and the only definitive answer will come in with HIV tests.

Anxiety is a powerful reaction that, while meant to protect us, when unchecked for a prolonged period of time can create numerous physical symptoms itself. I would suggest creating a plan by which you take control of the situation. That would include testing for STIs (which you've begun) and developing some tools to deal with anxiety. These may include stopping your research and some grounding techniques such as breathing, progressive relaxation, or meditation.

Take care,


Can I drink alcohol?
Just on meds and feeling better

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