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Another one for the Worried Wells

Dec 2, 2006

Hi Bob -

Just got my hiv-negative results yesterday despite a conclusive self-diagnosis that I was hiv+. I had unprotected receptive oral sex with a partner of unknown hiv+ status (but he lived in North Jersey, did poppers during sex, and seemed very experienced to me). I was unaware that there were symptoms associated with contracting hiv; I was under the impression that getting hiv was asymptomatic and that symptoms appeared only when one had progressed to AIDS, which could take up to 10 years to develop. So, when I started with the night sweats at about 10 weeks post-exposure, I hadn't even considered hiv. Then the diarrhea started and continued. And about the same time came the headaches and the light-headedness. Then came the cough. As a guy who rarely gets sick, these symptoms were unusual to me, and I started to wonder whether what I was experiencing could be related to that one night of bad judgment. "Hmmmmm, hiv? I don't think so. Let me look it up just to clear it off the list".....BAM! There it was. I had the characteristic symptoms; there was no doubt. As you say, "No way, no how," except for me it was no way no how that I did NOT have hiv. Married with 3 kids, I realized how many lives I had thrown into disarray. My self-diagnosis being conclusive, I spent most of my time figuring out the story I would have to concoct to explain to my wife how I got it and to explain that she would need to get tested. And how to break this to the kids and our families?

Thank God for you and this site. Symptoms don't matter, symptoms don't matter, symptoms don't matter, I kept telling myself. 1 in 10,000, I kept telling myself. But, on the other hand I thought, "hey, people DO hit the lottery, people DO die from lightning strikes, people Do get hit by cars." I finally hit the lottery - just the wrong one.

I write this for the worried wells out there as an example of someone whose symptoms appeared before knowing that they were potentially hiv related, as opposed to others who already know what hiv symptoms are and whose "symptoms" are actually psychosomatic or anxiety-based out of a fear of having hiv. 1 in 10,000 (and even higher with a partner of unknown status) are incredibly great odds. Incredibly great odds. Heck, I remember how I always lost bingo games as a kid in a class of 20 people. Imagine playing bingo with 10,000 people. No freakin' way you're gonna win that game.

So, try to relax, you worrying folks out there with symptoms. Most of your symptoms aren't even hiv symptoms anyway and even if they are, they're also symptoms of lots of other things. Good luck everyone!

Response from Dr. Frascino


And so another "conclusive self-diagnosis" bites the dust! What a surprise! (You're the 12th one this week!)

Congrats! WOO-HOO! Does anyone still even play Bingo?

Stay well.

Dr. Bob

BJ, ARS, and Shingles

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