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scared of hiv status

Aug 27, 2008

I am a 33 year old woman. In March 2008, (almost 6 months ago) I had cheated on my husband and had unprotected sex. I started having enourmous guilt and then it got 20 times worst when I started to wonder if I had HIV. My guilt took over my entire life. I would have panic attacks at work and couldn't concentrate at home. My husband eventually got fed up (I was on xanax, zoloft and valium), but couldn't tell him why. I finally came out and told him the truth. I told him I had been tested for everything and we are working things out. I was tested at 4 months post possible exposure and than again at 5 months. Both tests where negative. Then I started spotting between periods and freaked out. I then developed what I think was a UTI the doc put both me and the hubby on the powder zitromax stuff. The UTI seemed to clear up,but I am still feeling dry and kind of strange down there. The results are still pending at the doctors. Also, for the past 2 months(really since I got the first HIV test), I have pains in my calves, toes, neck, and armits.. but no swollen lymph nodes. Can I trust the test? I keep having nightmares that I died and my children and husband are at my funeral. I also have been feeling like something is stuck in my throat and my throat is sore(this started about 2 weeks ago). Please reply.. I am just so scared.

Response from Dr. Frascino


Your negative HIV tests at four and five months are definitive. HIV is not your problem. You correctly identified your real problem, "'enourmous' guilt that got 20 times 'worst' when you started to wonder about HIV." I'm glad you finally leveled with your husband. It's the right thing to do and the most effective way to confront your guilt. However, it appears you are still harboring irrational fears about being infected. Having nightmares that you died and your children and husband are at your funeral is not normal and may well reflect ongoing problems with depression and anxiety. You've already tried Xanax, Zoloft and Valium and still had "panic attacks." I believe it's time you sought counseling from a therapist (psychiatrist or psychologist) who could help you confront and conquer your guilt and ongoing irrational fears. Many of your symptoms (pains, feeling like something is stuck in your throat, etc.) may well be psychosomatic.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob

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