3rd time asking please help
Jan 7, 2007
Dear Dr. Bob, I can't express how much I appreciate your work. I'll try to keep my story short and I beg you to answer as I've been living in terror for so long now. About 5 weeks ago I had protected sex with a friend that I've known for 4 years. I am heterosexual. My condom popped for a second which I felt and immediately replaced it with a new one. 3 days later I had some redness on my foreskin. I went to a doctor and he said it was fairly common as some women may have something I forgot what that causes that (some kind of bacteria I guess). It was itchy and one layer of skin pealed off. It was gone after a week maybe. Ever since then I've been living in enormous fear of hiv. I asked the girl and she told me she was clean and I had nothing to worry about. A few days later I started to have urgency to go piss every half hour. That completely freaked me out. I went to see a doc they took my urine and everything was fine. The urgency continued nevertheless. About two weeks later I started experiencing shortness of breath that seems to get better every time I don't think about my breathing or hiv (almost never happens) and when I go to sleep. This freaked me out even more. SHortly after I started having chills and had fever mild fever on one ocassion. A few days later I got a swollen lymph node on my neck. All of these symptoms suggest to hiv and I am so scared doc. The one that bothers me most is shortness of breath that has been so persistent during this awful awful period. Alos, I've been checking my body every few minutes to look for more symptoms and every time I get an itch or something bothers me I think its hiv related. I think I'm on a verge of a mental breakdown. My questions would be 1) could any of these symptoms be anxiety related as I have been stressing out about this for so long? 2)Does redness on my foreskin suggest of hiv and do those bacterias (or whatever they might be) help hiv transmitting? Sir I would greatly appreciate any answer or suggestion you might have. I am begging for your thoughts on this. I also feel obligated to donate and I will do so. Thank you again and keep up the good work.
Response from Dr. Frascino
1. BINGO! I absolutely think your symptoms are anxiety related. A few red-flag clues to that diagnosis include: ". . . shortness of breath that seems to get better every time I don't think about my breathing or HIV and when I go to sleep . . . .", ". . . I been checking my body every few minutes to look for more symptoms and every time I get an itch or something bothers me I think it's HIV related . . . ."
Your HIV risk is minimal at best. My advice is to stop worrying and stop searching for symptoms. Get a single HIV test at the three-month mark and while waiting for that definitive test, get treatment for your anxiety.
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