I was worried for two years
Jan 5, 2009
Dear Dr Bob. This is not a question infact. This is my experience. I am submitting this post because i know that there are many ppl out there who are worried they have hiv because they have started showing some symptoms of it and are afraid to go and get checked. This is the story of my life and about the 2 years i spent (wasted) in deep despair thinking i had this great disease. I am male, 21 yrs and living in a small town. I have been masturbating ever since i was 8. I was sexually abused by my cousin(male) at the age of 12 and ever since i was exploring the great possibilities of sex. I understood that i was bisexual as i got turned on by both girls and boys. I had sexual activity with many girls and boys ever since. However none of them involved vaginal, anal or oral sex as i was young and afraid of getting some girl pregnant. I didnt give blowjobs as i thought it was very vulgar and unhygienic and considered anal sex very unattractive. My sexual experience involved foreplay and handjobs mainly. Although i was educated about hiv and aids i was overconfident and thought that those were confined to ppl of some third world nations and wont affect me. I thought that it was an embarrassment to buy condoms from a department store at that age. I even thought myself to be lucky for having such experiences at a young age, little did i know that i was playing with fire. A friend of mine (male) seduced me when i was 15 and i had been having sex with him for a long time. One day he persuaded me to give him a blowjob and i had to give in, he also gave me oral stimulation and it felt good, i expressed my concerns and he reassured me that he was negative and hiv didnt spread through oral contact (a completely wrong notion). Around this time he went to a city for his higher studies and would be available in vacation only, when we made out together, i found myself compelled to perform oral sex each time and i trusted him as he told that he didnt have sex with anyone else. Around this time i began reading more and more about hiv and aids especially in the internet . As i read more i became more and more suspicious as i found out that my friend was not speaking truth about the spreading of hiv thru oral sex. I spent hours in front of the computer everyday reading about this deadly situation and i regretted very much for giving my friend blowjobs. One of these days i read a newspaper article about the increase in number of hiv cases in cities and my friends city was in the top 5 list. I was terrified at this thought. Since we had sex regularly before he left for college i thought he would be sex deprived by now and would be seeking other partners and believed that he may have got hiv from some of them, i felt deeply sorry for having sex with him during the vacation. Soon the symptoms started to appear. I had every text book symptom of immunodeficiency. I remember the first symptom as having an upset stomach every morning with severe diarrhoea and burning sensation. This lasted for about 2 weeks and i consoled myself it was some bad food or something, then i got fever and sore throat. A rash appeared or my upper mouth and it felt kinda tingling. The flu like symptoms disappeared after a few days. I also got severe pain on my knee joints and had to be taken to the hospital at midnight, the doctors took an xray and couldnt find anything, they prescribed painkillers which solved the issue. During these times i was again indulged in my wild habit of searching the internet , the more i searched the more i confirmed that i was having hiv. The symptoms again repapered and continued in a cyclic manner, i would have diarrhoea for a while and when it subsides fever and cold will start, sometimes two or more symptoms co existed. When i could no longer bear a symptom i would go to the local doctor and seek symptomatic remedy. I would take special care to reveal to him only one symptom as i feared that he would suspect me and send me to hiv testing. I blamed myself for all this and felt extremely depressed. Ooh what days were those, i would think about all worst possibilities, i was afraid that my family would disown me if they knew i had this trouble, i was afraid to get tested as i knew that a positive result would kill me. However the life was starting to take its toll on me. I noticed new symptoms like periodic swelling of lymph nodes and appearance of rashes behind my earlobes, my sore throat was almost ever persistent. I lost good amount of weight and was looking thin, wherever i go my friends and relatives would ask why u became so thin and this question drew all the fears of the world to me. I was a good student and had studied well, during these days i noticed a reduction in my memory power, this haunted me like hell because it was shown as a symptom in the websites. Life was real hell, I spent valuable time speculating my future. I made plans to commit suicide once i knew i was positive. I refrained from the blood donation campaigns in my college fearing that would reveal my status. This hell continued for two years as did the symptoms. I am studying for civil engineering and when the time came for campus recruitment some friend told me that every company will check hiv status in their pre recruitment medicals. I was terrified and even thought of dropping one semester to avoid placements. However the thought of not getting a job also haunted me and i decided to sit in some companies and take the risk. I was in real hell in these days as i was researching in internet abt which companies took hiv test and which did not, i spend days and nights searching symptoms and confirmed that i was positive. This life took severe toll on my studies, however i scrapped pass in all subjects. I got placement in a reputed construction company. They did tell me that the procedure involved a medical examination at the time of joining (May 2009) but didnt tell me the specific nature of the tests. I was really terrified that this involved an hiv test. I couldnt confide my fear in anyone and i grew terribly depressed. Those were the real days of hell. I cant even look back into those days because it fills me with unimaginable fear. In my internet searching sessions i had found out and noted down the confidential testing centres near my place. I atlast decided that i was to go and get tested, however i decided against having my results immediately. I planned that i would give my sample and get out and would collect the results only after i am confident enough to see them (i imagined a span of months here). I can very vividly remember the day i got tested. I donno what force on the world led me to the testing centre, however i found out that the centre was a real heaven, these people were really considerate, however i gave false name, address and other credentials. They took the blood sample and asked me to wait 1 hour for results. I was terrified and told them that i had classes and would collect the result the next day. That night was the worst night of my life. I imagined all worst things that could happen to me once i knew my result was positive. I imagined myself committing suicide. I found myself searching the internet for motels and rooms nearby where i could have my last breath. However next day curiosity took the better of me than fear. During my classes that day i decided to go and get my results whatever would happen. I decided not to commit suicide even if i was positive. I remembered the saying hakuna matata from lion king. This gave me courage to get the result. I imagined the worst and stepped into the test centre. I WAS NEGATIVE. I had to look twice to believe my eyes, i was filled with some kind of emotion i couldnt explain. What the hell. I didnt believe it, even after i reached home i imagined of possibilities of samples getting somehow switched and stuff like that. I couldnt believe my results and believed that some error has crept in, i even believed that i had a false negative elisa. I was again in hell. However these results did give me enough confidence to get tested again. This time i went to a doctor, explained my symptoms, showed my first results, he told me that these results were conclusive , but on my insistence he agreed to get me tested. I got tested from a very reputed lab in the city. I crossed my fingers for the results.........AGAIN NEGATIVE. Hmmm i remember thanking god in all means that day. I donno why he was so kind to me and why all those symptoms appeared to me as i dont have hiv (i also got tested for leukaemia and was found negative(however leukaemia was the least of my worries). However what i can tell u people is that DO NOT JUDGE HIV BY ANY OF ITS SYMPTOMS........GO GET TESTED.........YOU ARE A TOTAL FOOL IF YOU ARE SPENDING TIME IN FRONT OF INTERNET BROWSING SYMPTOMS........ Something miraculous happened since i knew i was negative: my symptoms have started disappearing, now i have no symptoms except my fear of memory loss. I think that is 100% psychological and i can overcome that. I now believe in the power of mind over human body. Our mind believes what it is made to believe and will make the body believe so. I feel extremely relieved and vaccinated against hiv now as i i wont risk anymore exposure to hiv and would almost never have sex without a condom with an unknown partner. I have decided to stop gay sex. I thank god daily for his gift of life on me. If u think you are having such symptoms GO GET TESTED. Its of very low chance that you have hiv, even if you have it you can lead a very normal life these days. Lemme wind up my long post, let this post encourage everyone to get tested and find peace. Thank you and god bless you
Response from Dr. Frascino
Thanks for taking the time to write in. I hope others trapped in their own self-induced worried-well hell will do as you say (get tested) and not as you did (waste two years searching the Internet for symptoms and convincing yourself you are infected).
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