Do you get more e-mails than Brad Pitt per day?
Aug 26, 2008
Sorry for the irrelevant title. Just wanted to get your attention...although I would be curious to hear the answer. haha.
Anyway, I'm the guy (25yrs old male) who wrote you back in May regarding an incident where I had a fear that a homeless guy intentionally infected me with HIV via needle pricking while I was unconscious. (I've pasted the previous post below just in case you forgot my story). I finally got tested for HIV on August 15 Friday, using Rapid Oral test--that's after 109 days since the incident. The result came back negative and then all my worries ebbed away (although I was already pretty emotionally stable at that timealthough HIV crossed my mind, I never had a panic attack), believing now I can get back to my normal life. Wrong. Last Wednesday, all of a sudden I experienced this EXTREME fatigue where I felt so lethargic that I could not stay focused at work, just hoping to go home and lie on my bed. This fatigue was soon accompanied by nausea and a loss of appetite. I'm suffering from all of these symptoms to this day and they have not gotten better at all despite good amount of sleep. I am now super convinced that I caught hepatitis C from the same incident. To make matters worse, I remember about 1 month ago, I experienced a generalized itching for 2-3 weeks where my legs were constantly itchy, on and off hot flashes/mild flu-like feeling, reduced libido for 3 weeks, and finally there were a couple times within the last 3 months when my urine looked dark orange (in the morning), not dark like the color of coca-cola but combination of orange and brown and also once the color of stool looked lighter than usual--all of these symptoms I believe point to hepatitis C. However, no fever or weight lossat least not yet. On a side note, I took a blood test, precisely the comprehensive metabolic panel plus lipid panel, last Tuesday (Aug 19th) and all the results were normal, including my liver function. However, this does not necessarily screen out hepatitis C as it remains dormant for several years. I've had anxiety attacks over STDs in the past (in 2005) but never experienced such unprecedented level of fatigue. These symptoms are unusual, abnormal, and extremeespecially given my low anxiety level before these symptoms kicked in.
I got tested for Hepatitis C today and will be getting the result next week. I am almost certain that it will turn out to be positive. Right now, I just cannot think of anything else besides the possibility that the homeless guy intentionally infected me with HIV and/or Hepatitis C via needle prick, thinking what if the pimple I noticed on my cheek the day after the incident was actually a needle mark? (although based on what I remember there was no blood mark or trace)
Please help me, Doc. You are the only person I can turn to.Your perspective on my concern would be highly appreciated. Do these symptoms convince you that I have hepatitis C?
Thank you in advance for your response.
Regards, Bobarama Fan
Response from Dr. Frascino
Hello Bobarama Fan,
"I am now super convinced that I caught hepatitis C . . . ." Here we go again!!! Dude, you've had "anxiety attacks over STDs in the past (2005)" and you just recently had another episode of irrational HIV fear, which, not surprisingly, turned out to be completely unwarranted! Don't you think your latest fixation on hepatitis C might just be another 'Fig Newton of your imagination'?!?
My comments about your risk of acquiring anything from an imaginary syringe-wielding psychotic maniac remain unchanged. See below. Your liver function studies are normal. Your hepatitis C test will also be normal. What's not normal is your recurrent irrational fear about STDs. It's time to get some professional help to confront and conquer this recurrent psychological problem. Ask your doctor for a referral to a psychologist or psychiatrist, OK?
As for who gets more e-mails per day, me or Brad Pitt, well, I don't really know for sure. Could you send Brad over to my house so he and I could discuss this issue in the comfort of my Jacuzzi?
Help from Bobarama campaign needed!!! May 13, 2008
Dear Dr. Bob,
First and foremost, I just want to say you are a godsend. I, a heterosexual man, never thought I would say this to a guy but I love you, Doc. I am so touched by everything you do for the world that they bring tears to my eyes. You will always be my hero.
Ive extensively browsed through your archive but I could not find any case similar to mine. My potential exposure to HIV occurred 2 weeks ago when I was at a restaurant with 3 of my buddies. When we finished eating and were just out the restaurant, I fainted (probably due to fatigue as I was devoid of sleep that week). Unfortunately, all of my friends were walking front of me so they did not see me passed out on the ground until about 20-30 seconds later. Based on what they saw, I was being helped by a few homeless guys. My friends quickly came to help and took me away from the homeless people who continued to follow us, begging for money. I became conscious after my friends put me in a cab. I realized I was not robbed. However, what bothered me was the slight possibility that these homeless people could have intentionally tried to infect me with HIV by poking needle into my body during the time I was passed out and before my friends came to help me. You ask, what made me believe that theyve done this to me? No good reasonjust my hunch. I had no proof. But this incident happened in Tenderloin, California, bad neighborhood which further increases the risk. Not to mention, I think there are homeless people who are mentally ill and therefore, may commit such inhumane crime. The only bright side is this happened right front of the restaurant so good number of people were watching (Ive created a commotion right front of the restaurant). As soon as I got home, I checked every spot on both the inside and outside of my shirt, pants, socks to see if there were any blood stainsluckily none. Ive also checked my entire body for a needle mark. None. There was a red spot on my cheek but I think it was a pimple. Also, there was a extremely tiny red mark on my hand but I dont think it was a needle mark (but at the same time, who knows). After my thorough body check, I was pretty convinced that I was okay until after two weeks, I got the following symptoms: cold, sore throat, raised taste buds. I was getting better after a few days but I got really drunk the following day which made my condition worse. I slept for 9-10 hours the next day in order to fight them off but no avail. I became worried that I was HIV pos. On top of these symptoms, I am now suffering from frequent cough, dizziness, hot flashes which make me feel feverish. (no swollen glands as of now). I was given antibiotics by my doctor yesterday for my sore throat. This has been going on for 5-6 days. I think its fair to say these flu-like symptoms are all indication of seroconversion. My illness is on the verge of getting worse as I feel feverish and weak now. All of this is now bringing tears to my eyes.
Doc, I know you are going to tell me that my next step is to wait for 3-6months to get tested. But please give me your perspective on my incident. Dont the timing and the severity of my symptoms convince you that Im pos? Are you going to tell me that this is all due to stress despite the fact that Ive suffered from stress in the past which never triggered these flu-like symptoms? P lease give me your honest assessment and advice (as you always do). Thank you for your time and help.
Response from Dr. Frascino
Why is it that people are so afraid of homeless people and immediately think they are all psychotic, syringe-wielding maniacs hell-bent on infecting innocent bystanders with HIV-tainted blood???? Don't you think homeless folks may have a few other more pressing problems to occupy their minds and actions, like finding a place to sleep or something to eat??? I've worked with many homeless folks, including those in the Tenderloin of San Francisco, and I have never come across or even heard mention of deranged psychopaths, like the ones you fear. It's all urban legend, like the lady who dried her wet cat by putting it in the microwave or all those folks waking up in bathtubs full of ice with their kidney removed or the Loch Ness Monster or the Easter Bunny or compassionate conservatives. None of it is based in reality.
So to answer your specific questions and comments:
1. My perspective on your incident is that your fears are totally unwarranted and highly irrational.
2. Does the timing and severity of your symptoms convince me that you're positive? No, absolutely not. It convinced me you are suffering from irrational HIV fears and anxiety.
3. Am I going to tell you it's all due to stress? No, not all due to stress. Some of it is due to your unhealthy lifestyle of inadequate sleep and excessive alcohol consumption.
4. Am I going to tell you your next step is a three-month HIV test? No, I don't feel HIV testing is even warranted. However, if you remain worried, despite my reassurances, then a three-month rapid HIV test may be helpful in putting your unwarranted worries permanently to rest.
Finally, as far as being in love with me, well, if you really expect to have a chance, you'll have to clean up your act a bit, get some rest and attend to your irrational fears. After that, well, maybe, just maybe one drink!
Good luck. Stop worrying.
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