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Swollen glands and night sweats, terrified
Jul 1, 2009

Dr. Bob, I have read so many things in the past eight weeks concerning HIV that I am confident I will test positive at the 12 or 13 week mark. I am a male who is thirty-two years old. Approximately eight weeks ago I like many others became extremely drunk and I had unprotected vaginal intercourse with a young woman of unknown status, I think. At about four weeks post exposure I felt like my glands in my armpit breast aaea were tender, and then I began checking my groin also. I'm uncertain if my groin glands were ever enlarged, but my breass/pectoral/armpit area seems swollen still. I have had anxiety for years bordering being a hypochondriac, and this is killing me. I confessed to my wife what I had done, and now I am out of the house away from her and my young daughter. There may be hope for reconcilliation, but if I have HIV, that will not happen. I tested immediately for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, both were negative. I've been thinking about all of this 24/7 for weeks and now I am begiining to sweat a lot at night, but I have no fever. I always check my temp. and it is usually below 98.0 degrees. I am so terrified, and I tracked the person I was with down a few times asking her what I have. She says, "I'm losing it." and that she knows that she has absolutely Nothing, and that she has tested. But what is going on with me? I've lost everything already and I'm expecting a positive diagnosis. I don't want to test until the 90 day mark, because my anxiety wouldn't accept a negative test result if given one today. Please respond. I will make a donation, because what you do and how you do it is immensely important to so many.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Being "confident I will test positive at 12 or 13 weeks" and actually testing HIV positive at 12 or 13 weeks are two extremely different things!

You ask: "But what is going on with me?" Actually I believe you answered your own question when you wrote: "I have had anxiety for years bordering on being a hypochondriac, and this is killing me . . . ." BINGO! There you have it. You are in essence making yourself ill! You've chased down your gal-pal and she advised you that you're "losing it!" I tend to agree with her.

The facts and what to do are fairly straightforward. Your HIV risk is unprotected drunken insertive penile-vaginal sex with a gal-pal whose HIV status is unknown. The estimated statistical risk of acquiring HIV from insertive vaginal sex with a partner confirmed to be HIV infected is 5 per 10.000 exposures. Your estimated statistical risk would be even less, as we don't know the status of your bedmate. That you had unprotected sex does put you at some degree of risk for STDs, including HIV. Consequently an HIV-antibody test at the three-month mark is warranted. You are having difficulty tolerating the anxiety induced by having to endure the three months before getting a definitive HIV test result. Consequently I strongly advise you seek help with this very real medical problem. Anxiety is amenable to treatment with psychotherapy (counseling) and/or anti-anxiety medications. I'd recommend you take a copy of this post and my response to show to your therapist. It will help focus your treatment and speed your recovery.

I could be wrong, but I'm willing to wager your admitted wackiness over this entire episode is at least part of the reason you are "out of the house." Reconciliation may have a better chance if you attend to this very real problem! Read through the testimonials in the archives. You'll find numerous others who were 110% convinced they were HIV infected, only to find out on testing day they were negative. I'm guessing your story will end the same way.

Thank you for your donation to the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org). It's warmly appreciated. In return I'm sending you my good-luck karma that your definitive HIV test will be negative. (Please note my good-luck karma had yet to fail!!!)

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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