Today is the first day...
Aug 17, 2005
of the rest of my life!!! Woo-Hoo!!!
Hey Dr. Bob, thank you for everything you have done here on this site, as it kept me sane these last few months. I must say that I was not the best example of being calm and composed, but I survived my window period, and 86 days after my 'incident' I have tested non-reactive for HIV! This site helped me so much, so I thought that it would only be fitting if I would share some of my experiences with others who may be needing some help to get to that three month mark as well:
First of all, and I know that has been said time and time again, LISTEN TO THE GOOD DR.! He knows what he is saying. During my window period I suffered so much because I simply could not accept some of the things that I read on this site. My life came to a halt because I was so stubborn.
Symptoms do not equal HIV. I had every symptom under the sun. Swollen nodes? Yup. Nausea? Yup. Body aches? Double yup. Rash, cough, and mouth soars? Affirmative. Basically, all these symptoms convinced me that I had HIV. I now believe that 50% of what I was feeling was in my mind, 25% may have been caused by my alergies, and the last 25% may have been things that would just have happened to my body regardless. Always remember that all things being equal, these symptoms are probably being caused by something other than HIV.
Get tested at three months. I will be honest, I was weak... I got tested at nine weeks thinking that a negative result here would make me feel a bit better... I was wrong. My negative result at nine months just made me curse life for giving me false hopes, and it would have been better if is came up positive now as opposed to later so that I can start taking medication. The point is, although you may be tempted to test earlier, it is a good idea to test only at the three month mark, and try to live normally till then.
Read the forums. I know that when you are scared, you want YOUR personal questions answered, but it is important to remember that although the good Dr. is absolutely amazing, he does have lots to respond to. When I first came across this site, in panic I wrote a question and sent it in... no response. I wrote another one... no response. Then, I decided to check the forums, and lo and behold, there was somebody who had pretty much the same experience as I did. There is just so much information here, all you have to do is seek for it.
Do not call the CDC. I understand that the researchers at the CDC may do a service by studying the spread of the disease, but the people who work there answering calls are usually rude, and unknowledgable. They may also do more to make you afraid than they do to truly help you.
I also wanted to leave some notes about the day of testing. Let me tell you, I did not sleep much the night before, and was on edge the entire day until I took my Rapid HIV test. It was all just so surreal. When the nurse came back bearing good news, it sort of took a while for the message to sink in. The truth is, when you have been living with HIV for three months, it is sort of a disorienting feeling to know that you don't have HIV at all. I thought that when I got my results, it would be like a boulder had been lifted from my shoulders, but it feels more like a huge barrel that I am carrying springs a leak, and it is getting lighter and lighter with each passing moment.
Just in case you all were wondering, my exposure was vaginal fluids on the head of my penis during foreplay. It was brief, but it was enough to send me off the wall.
This experience has changed my life forever. While I can't say that I am happy that I thought I was dying for three months, but I have such an appreciation for life now.
I wish everybody who may just be starting their three month journey. Just remember what you read here, and listen to Dr. Bob. He is here for us.
Now, all I need is a Woo-Hoo boost, and I can be on my way! (with a donation coming your way, of course)
Response from Dr. Frascino
What else can I say but Amen! (Well, sometimes I say Ahhh MEN! But that's another story.)
Welcome to the rest of your life, Dave. May it be filled with health, contentment and peace.
Thanks for your kind words, wise advice and generous donation!
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