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Worrying is a Waste of the Imagination
Feb 22, 2004

OK doc heres my storyits long, so Ill tell it in bullets and keep it as succinct as possible. Began a painful divorce in mid 2002, suspected wife had an affair. Turnabout and I have an affair w/a 40 yr old married woman. We are fast and furious for monthsno protection Dated another woman who I slept with w/o protection.

After that, I begin to think I have serious signs of infection based on the following: What if ex-wife passed it to me from her [suspected] affair Had sex with woman while she had her periodwhat if she has the disease and specifically chose that time so she could pass it on to me [conspiracy theory] Woman said she had been to Greek islandsAIDS is prevalent there, what if she was infected there. News media touts rise in heterosexual HIV infections. On and on

My symptoms included: Tingling in my penis Floaters in eyes Rash Cough Swollen Glands Sore Throat White Spots in my mouth

Head out to doctor who assures me I am okdoes blood work, but no HIV test. All come back fine. Symptoms still lingeras do many thoughts Stress mountsI am spending hours/day researching on-line for information. Relationships suffer. I notice EVERY HIV advertisement, article, poster, t-shirt, commercial and am sure it is a sign I am infected.

Still too paralyzed to get the testwhat if I am positivehow could I deal?? I am better off no knowingIf I am infected it will be years before I show real signs right??? How can I face her and tell her Ive ended her lifeshe has two amazing little boys

I have several other partners in the year, all with protectioncant maintain a relationshiptoo freakedwhat if Im sick and pass it on???

In January I develop a rash on my scrotumdoc says its jock itch, but I know better its Candidiasis a result of HIV. Cream he provides doesnt work, in fact its getting worseI drop all reason and logic and head over the deep end8 hours on a Saturday online inputting every combination of words relating to my symptoms into Google. I page the docwho calls me in for another look. He stands by his first diagnosis, but suggests the HIV test. I think hard, and against my inner monologue give in and let the blood be drawn. How long for the results I askAbout a week, he says. Days passI am freakingagain online hourly looking for infowaiting for the telephone to ring with my HIV positive result. Hours awake at night thinking how my life is going to changewho will I tell, how will I manage?? I need a will

A week goes by, I call the doc, he doesnt return my call. Now I have even more scenarios [partially based on what Ive read online] He doesnt have the courage to tell me. Theyre doing more tests because my first came back positive. On and on I spend 12 hours in the house pacing

Well Ive gone on long enoughI head out to the gym this morning to relieve some stressnothings gonna happen before Monday now rightwrong! I come home to a letter from the doc.I tear into it.

NEGATIVE! WHOOOOHOOOO

Lots of morals to this story I need some serious psychological counselingI think Im OCD Fear will paralyze you Worrying is a waste of the imagination The media will scare you if you let them Youre not HIV positive until the test tells you so And theres so many more.

I made a lot of promises to myself over the last few weeks about things I would do if I came out negativethis letter being the first on them. I hope you post it for all those worriers out there.

Thanks for reading

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Thanks for taking the time to write in and share your experience. Rather than using one's "imagination" worrying, I'd suggest listening to the lyrics in John Lennon's song, "Imagine."

Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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