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I'm afraid I have HIV

Oct 2, 2000

I performed oral sex on a guy about 2 months ago, I can't remember when exactly. I developed flu-like symptoms about 3-4 weeks later. I am so afraid that I have HIV, but I can't bring myself to get tested. I feel so ashamed and dirty and disgusting, and I don't think I could cope with actually being found positive. And I could never cope with telling anyone, having to go through that humiliation and shame. I keep trying to get tested at the local health clinic, but I haven't shown up for my last two appointments. I don't want to die, and I don't know what to do. Fear is totally destroying my life. Am I just being paranoid, or do I need help?

Response from Mr. Shernoff

I will not address the medical question since I am not a doctor and am not an expert in transmission. Yes, you definitely do need help. To be so incapacitated with fear, self-loathing and humiliation that you cannot take the simple step of going for an HIV test, indicates that what has been triggered in you goes far deeper than just fear of HIV. It probably has a lot to do with your feelings about desiring sex with other men. I urge you to find a good therapist who is not homophobic and is skilled in this area so that he or she can work with you to help you discover what is going on so you can move beyond your fears in order to take good care of yourself.

Michael Shernoff, MSW

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