Worrying about HIV/AIDS
Dec 15, 2000
Dear Ryan, having read through most of the questions and answers on this Forum I would like to add my own experience and thoughts and recommendations to people who worry about contracting this desease. Sometime ago I was on a business trip in Africa and I had a sexual encounter with a sex worker. I used a condom for vaginal sex and no condom at all for oral sex. Once I returned home to my family I began experiencing guilty feelings (I would talk to my two young children and tell them that I let them down! Thank God that they did not understand what I was talking about). Naturally I could not disclose anything to my wife, for fear of losing her and our kids. I became very concerned that I had actually somehow contracted HIV. I began reading and researching into the HIV/AIDS websites for details on possibilities of transmission through kissing, cuts on ones hands, finger nail biting, saliva transmission, receiving oral sex, how to take off a condom and not touch vaginal fluids on the outside of it, etc. etc. Every morning I would wake up and perform a daily inspection of my body, looking for the infamous HIV rash and for any signs of swollen nodes. I even mistook two insect bites near my left ankle as a sign of HIV. During this period I avoided any form of sex with my wife by saying that I was tired, stressed out from work, had constant headaches etc. etc. When we did have sex I did not allow her to perform oral sex on me (we use a condom for vaginal sex since she does not like taking the pill). I went to great extremes to make sure that at no time none of my family would come into contact with my blood (tooth brushes, razor blades). It got so bad that I refused to allow my wife or kids to drink from my glass and was even refusing to hug and cuddle them. I found myself spending more time on the net looking for answers to my predicament. In short my life was slowly going down the drain. I decided to go for the HIV test. When I explained all of the above to the doctor he told me that if I had been infected with HIV I would have been very ill and that generally people with ARS are forced into seeing a doctor. He told me that I was not infected, however for peace of mind I should do the test. It turned out negative (after 8 weeks exposure). My life is now back to normal but for all the people who worry about contracting HIV I would say that the only way for you to be completely sure is to have the HIV test. No-one on the net will be able to tell you if you are positive or negative and self diagnosis will not give any meaningful answers. If you must indulge in sexual activity with someone who is not your usual sexual partner ALWAYS ALWAYS PRACTICE SAFE SEX. I hope that this helps some of your readers.
Response from Mr. Kull
Thank you for your insight. I think it is always helpful to have perspectives from different angles around the issues of anixety about being or getting HIV infected.
(Just one note: it is not necessarily true that people are forced into seeing a doctor due to ARS symptoms. Some people might not experience ARS symptoms at all, but it seems that the majority do. Again, you can't determine HIV infection based on symptoms alone)
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