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A friend in a friend indeed

Feb 16, 2001

Hello Ryan, i'd like to congratulate you on the great work you do on this forum, now, onto my dilemma. I have a very good friend, one that i've known for 30 years, who needs my help, i'm just not sure how to go about helping him. This friend had very brief, yet unprotected vaginal intercourse some 16 years ago, in the years since, he has engaged in receptive oral sex, i'm convinced he's telling the truth on both counts. Basically the issue is, he's come to the conclusion that he is about to die, based on a number of symptoms, now, by no means am i a doctor, but the symptoms he described to me are those that any number of folks without HIV could very possibly have. He nearly died almost 5 years ago in a freak accident, he had a fractured skull and 3 epidural hematomas, he ordered his records for legal purposes, and called me in an utter panic, his neutrophil count was 90.10 his lymph percentage was quite low, i called his neuro and was told this was indeed investigated and was normal due to the nature of the trauma. Ryan, its so bad that he's not having sexual relations with his own wife because of this fear, he's even afraid to try and have kids, which he loves, i'm pretty well convinced that he most likely does NOT have this disease, please, any suggestions here? I'd like my best friend to return to normal. thanks for your time.

Response from Mr. Kull

It sounds like you are a great friend and have a really good sense about your friend's risk for infection. While your question is not an easy or simple one to answer, let me make one observation: your friend practically died from (what sounds like) a severe head trauma. I think that could cause some neurological disturbances, and most definitely lead to some sort of post-traumatic stress. It makes sense that he's panicked about life, relationships, and starting a family. HIV is the perfect hook for our collective anxieties.

Encourage him to deal with his traumatic experience, through psychotherapy and/or psychiatric treatment (the two work best in conjunction). Of course, he should be HIV tested if there is a real risk, but he will benefit most from looking at the bigger picture. Most of all, listening to his concerns is one of the most healing things you can do.


Symptoms,symptoms and more symptoms
strange question

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