A message to your readers...be safe not sorry!
Jan 19, 2004
I just wanted to write and tell my story in hopes that it encourages others to engage in safe sex. I just spent two weeks of my life wrestling with terrible anxiety and panic waiting for HIV test results. Thankfully today I found out that I am negative. I want to thank you for your website, it helped me be realistic and prepare for the worst. Though everyone makes mistakes, I want to encourage people to be careful and not put themselves at risk like I did. After my divorce in 1999, I entered a pretty dark period in my life and had numerous dates and relationships with men, and subsequently slept with at least 12 men over a period of two and a half years. It was a horrid time in my life where my self esteem felt like it was non-existent and I was incredibly lonely. I was living alone at the time and looking in the wrong places to fill a void in my life. I'm not unattractive, I'm not stupid and I certainly didn't have to behave the way I did to try to get the attention or affection of men. I didn't have to sleep with every guy I dated, but I did because truthfully, my self-esteem just was horrendous after my divorce and I made poor stupid choices. I went thru a stage where I simply just didn't care much anymore about anything that I did. I struggled with depression and drifted away from my friends, there was plenty of alcohol and partying involved but no drugs, at least none done by me. I don't believe any of the guys I dated did drugs either, but looks can be deceiving. Even though they all looked clean cut, and were successful..one never knows. I know I used condoms with some of the guys I was with, but I don't remember exactly when I did or didn't use condoms.The stupid thing is I knew that if you put yourself at risk, you can get it, and its as simple as that. That HIV doesn't just ignore the white college educated 30 something woman population. In 2002, I got my life back together, was not sexually active that entire year...but was always worried that i may have been exposed to HIV along the way or other STDs. It took me this long to drum up the courage to take the tests. While I waited for the results, I was so anxious I began to almost believe I must be HIV positive, that I had been too risky during those two years and that I'd have to face the consequences. The anxiety played alot of tricks on my mind, I had nightmares and I cried and I even contemplated suicide if I were positive. Please, if you aren't having safe sex, be safe. Don't put yourself thru the anxiety and worry that I have. It really dampens your spirit. I'm happy to report I'm healthy but certainly this has made me appreciate my life and the people in it much more than ever before. Jennifer
Response from Dr. Frascino
Congratulations and WOO-HOO on your negative test! Thanks for taking the time to write in and share your story. Yes, the "better safe than sorry" slogan should be expanded to "better safe than worry" as well! Unfortunately, by the time folks find this site, they usually already have some cause for concern. Luckily, the vast majority of cases turn out just like yours and just as all the statistics would suggest!
"Appreciating life and the people in it" is an excellent New Year's Resolution, whether one is HIV-positive (like me) or not! Stay well.
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