What should I do?
Jun 1, 2009
Hello Doc, I came across this site, while searching for answers. I live in a small Caribbean country where there is so much Stigma surrounding HIV and hardly any known HIV doctors or treatment, that testing + is almost always a death sentence. I have witnessed at leat 4 to 5 young people, with lots of things going for them( I mean people who are middle or upper class citizens), commit suicide because they tested +. In my country this is quite common and scary. A family friend died from Hiv. I don't think he knew he was +, and developed TB and died in about 1 mth. I was devastated as I spent the last 2 wks at his bedside, never realized how horrible this disease was! I never had sex again, after my friend died and that was 5 yrs ago. I believe I engaged in some risky stuff prior to this, but I am so scared to get tested. I dated 2 guys in 2 yrs. One of them, I think it was twice we had sex and the condom came off once. The other, we never really had vaginal sex,(neither anal) as I had my period on the 2 occasions I remember but we had oral and hand sex. He claimed he was tested regularly, as he was a US marine. The year before I stopped hving sex, I dated 2 other guys, I am not sure we had sex either, as I always seem to have to be in period mode, and our sexual contact is similar to that of the US marine. My father was extremly ill and I suffered from stress, hence the bleeding. The other guy I dated, I know we had sex 2 times. I can remember using a condom only once. I can't remember the second time at all. I have been afraid for 5 yrs. and more afraid to get tested. I am very paranoid of the smallest medical problem I have, sometimes I think I'll go crazy! I know you will say GET TESTED, but there is no support groups, proper treatment etc. in my country. What do you think my risks are?
Response from Dr. Frascino
Your HIV-acquisition risk is low. You are correct: I am going to advise you get HIV tested. You report you are "very paranoid of the smallest medical problem." This type of chronic stress and anxiety is not healthy. As you stated, you're worried you'll "go crazy." I agree. Positive or negative, you need to know what you are dealing with.
No matter what your status, you should consider working with friends and local groups to begin support groups and encourage comprehensive HIV care for your community. Remember what Margaret Mead said: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world: Indeed it's the only thing that ever has."
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