Dec 10, 2006
Dr. Bob, I am a thirty-four year old male that recently learned that a woman I once was involved with is HIV+. I have been freaking out ever since I found out and of course like many of the other people that have posted here, I have experienced symptoms that I am certain are ARS. Headache, mild night sweats, sore throat, differing bowel movements, and I have been terrified about getting tested especially since the three-month mark isn't going to be until the end of January! I have been losing sleep, and I feel like I am losing my mind!!! I don't know if this was a recent exposure, or from a couple of years ago, but I am so scared. I understand my odds of transmission are 5 in 10,000...but I am convinced I am doomed! I am praying that I will be able to "whoo hooo" and I was wondering if you might extend me some of your good karma just in case. After reading alot of the posts here I am convinced that you are a beautiful man, and you kindness and courage are profound. I wish you and Steve many years of happiness, and I hope that since I live near, I will see you in Oberlin this February and shake your hand. Donation is on the way!
Thank you, JS
Response from Dr. Frascino
Speaking of Oberlin, I'm presently sitting at Java Zone on campus enjoying my cappuccino as I type this response! I'm a Trustee of the College and the Board of Trustees is meeting here over the next few days.
Regarding your realization that you may have had an HIV exposure and subsequent development of vague symptoms that have led you to your conclusion that you are doomed, I would very strongly suggest you spend some time reading through the extensive archives of this forum. There you will find gazillions of testimonials similar to yours from people absolutely convinced they were infected who ultimately find out that in reality they were not. I'm sure you'll find these stories both enlightening and reassuring. Remember, symptoms do not equal HIV disease. In fact, symptoms are notoriously unreliable in predicting who is and is not HIV infected!
Good-luck karma sent with my blessings! If, while enduring the window-period wait for testing, you are "losing your mind," get some counseling or treatment for your anxiety. Also remember, a thin piece of latex is all you need to prevent future bouts of worry-filled waiting. It's worth pointing out that 25% of the estimated one million HIV-positive Americans have absolutely no idea they are infected with the virus.
Stay safe and you'll stay well.
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