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Too Scared to Get Tested? (follow-up from VV Worried)
Aug 14, 2009

OK Guys,

I just wanna say: I know what you're going through! First thing for you to do is to pick someone to confide in, and ask them to help you through it. I wouldn't have even faced up to getting tested if I had have kept it all bottled up inside cos I was so convinced I had HIV and I'd given it to my GF who I loved more than I ever loved myself.

I had swollen lymph nodes in my neck that have been there for MONTHS (still there now), bearing in mind lymph nodes enlarge as a result of infection, and should go down after a few weeks, if they stay persistently swollen for months it is an indicator that they are fighting an infection that IS NOT GOING AWAY. There aren't a whole lot of infections that fall into that category. This wasn't just non specific flu-virus symptoms, this was something the doc got worried about when I went and saw her. Lymph nodes shouldn't be up for that long. A quick google search later and you will find the same thing I did: persistently swollen lymph nodes are a symptom of hiv.

My tongue is as white as a corpse, with red spots and a mushy coating all over it. i would have put money on that being oral thrush, maybe it still is, i dunno, but if you look far back enough it gets real white and gross-looking. I even had a funny taste in my mouth that had never been there before, "a sign of viral infection" according to google.

But the real clincher was my GF. She had a high-grade fever that was completely assymptomatic save for the 39 temperature, and went on for about 3 weeks. HELLO? Seroconversion anybody? A high grade mystery fever? And this is what really put me in the pit: it was accompanied by terrifying nightmares of her house being invaded by wolves and demons that were too strong for her to fight off, and of messages telling her that she would soon be made to pay for her sins. She even dreamt of a newborn demon baby (the destructive hiv virus newly born in her body?). These were intensely evil nightmares the likes of which she had never experienced before in her life. She would be in tears over these nightmares, and all the while there was me, in my own pit of doom, convinced that I held the key to unlocking their meaning (the wolves and demons invading her house were symbols of the hiv virus invading her body, and the fact that she couldn't fight them off, symbolic of her immune system discovering that it could not fight off the hiv virus). This was a real fear trip people (and Ive been on one or two :-/ )These nightmares were strong enough to ruin EVERY night of sleep the last couple of months I was with her. You have no idea how convinced I was that they were a result of her new hiv infection.

She would experience entire days where she was overwhelmed by feelings of absolute doom and despair that she could not account for, and she would call me to tell me, and all I could do on the other end of the phone was shrink even further into my hole. A quick peruse of the internet literature later, and i come across a forum with a post by a recently diagnosed hiv sufferer who described the exact same thing, and apparently her doc told her it was reasonably common for those newly infected to have unexplained feelings of doom and despair as the virus takes hold in their body. The number of times she would comment on some aspect of her physical condition and say in passing I think I must have a bug, I might book a doctors appointment and I would just DIE I lost count.

I was 101% convinced, I had HIV and I had given it to her. There isn't even enough room on this page to describe all the things that made me believe it, but there were loads, and I spent the last 3 months in a pit. When you believe you have hiv, you see it everywhere you look. Fear is a very powerful thing.

My definitive 12 month test result came back today and it was clear. I had to double check with the nurse, but it was still clear. I don't have HIV. I don't even believe I deserve the negative result, much better people than me did not get it, God be with them.

The point is, my GF couldn't stand being with me anymore and having these nightmares and intense feelings of doubt, and she left me. i think deep down she knew that all this negative energy was radiating from me, although i couldn't bring myself to confide in her, and this was causing her nightmares and anxiety, not HIV. The fever she experienced, who knows? She's moved on to someone else, and my chances of getting her back, at least in the near future, are slim to none. I wanted my future with this girl, and had I got tested as soon as my fears arose, instead of "waiting for the bomb to drop", we would never have broke up.

I had sex with a prostitute, and I went into a subsequent relationship with a guilty secret. It came to the surface and ruined things for me, and I have paid for my sin by losing the girl I love. Needless to say, I would rather pay my debts that way than by having to go and tell her as an ex that I gave her HIV, so I am thankful, but as time goes on now I have been given the all-clear I will be thinking about her with her new man, and how I lost her over a HIV scare that turned out to be unnecessary.

Moral of the story: get tested (i never claimed to be original)! Being stuck in the cage of undiagnosed hiv fear carries with it a weight all of its own that will ruin your life REGARDLESS of whether you actually have it or not. The sooner you face up to it the less damage it does. I said to myself while I was still with her that I would get tested and if the results were negative, I would propose, because the whole episode made me realise how strongly I felt for her. But I was so convinced that there was only one possible test result, I never faced up to it in time.

I wont forget how bad the last three or four months have been for me and sit here on the other side of a negative test result trying to preach to people who cannot face getting tested, I was on the other side of that divide until an hour ago, I understand how hard it is, but guys it is ruining your life already, right? Dont face it alone, pick someone to confide in and tell them everything, they will help you through it. Keeping it bottled up inside is just a recipe for destruction.

Bottom line is this: I have never had a persistently swollen lymph node, a lingering funny taste in my mouth, a horrible gooey white tongue, or a GF with high-grade fevers accompanied by nightmares and depression EVER in my life before, and I didnt even mention the constantly clicking and sometimes sore joints I experienced that I had NEVER had before in my life that I became convinced was sexually-acquired reactive arthritis, but within 12 months of banging a prostitute, they all popped up. Did I have HIV? No. And guess what? YOU MIGHT NOT HAVE IT EITHER!!!! The worlds a very complex place, and guilt and fear can attract some very strange things into your life, numerous symptoms of hiv that pop up for the first time in your life after a guilty sexual encounter do not equal hiv, only a positive hiv test result equals hiv. Easy for me to say, right? Just confide in someone and work through it guys, you might get there too.

Thanks again Dr B, Im not even going to woohoo, cos I dont deserve to. Im just gonna say, thanks for being there for me and all the others who visit this website, youre doing Gods good work and you deserve all the good rewards you shall get when we all face our maker. I am in for an ass-whoopin for being such a dick as to length a prostitute and then lose the girl I wanted to marry over it, but at least I have finally faced up to it all, and I probably still wouldnt have done it were it not for you.

I know this is a long-ass post, but if you can please post it for others, even as a bit of closure for myself, I would be grateful.

Peace and Love Dr B, I will not forget the lessons learned from this episode, and I will never forget the good work you and others like you are doing. Im sure Im going to go on and live a more holy life than I ever would have done had I not been humbled by this experience, and inspired by you in the process.

Over and out,

Formerly VV Worried aka Messed-up Cookie

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Messed-up Cookie,

Thanks for the novel, I mean post! Hopefully it will help other messed-up cookies.

I will correct one aspect of your post. It is not "reasonably common" for newly infected HIVers to have "unexplained feelings of doom and despair as the virus takes hold in their body"!!! Certainly once someone tests HIV positive they may experience a period of adjustment to their new reality as an HIVer. However, in folks who acquire the virus but are not even aware they are infected there is no increase in evil nightmares, demon babies or visions of a naked Dick Cheney climbing into your bed (insert total body shiver here).

Be well.

Dr. Bob

Thanks! Aug 4, 2009

Hey man!

You answered my question and true to my word I just donated to your extremely worthy cause.

Your reply to my question (including your good luck karma!) was posted literally on the morning of the day I'm going to get tested! And after many previous questions went unanswered! Is it an omen? I don't know but it certainly has made me feel so much better.

Whatever the test result Dr B thanks for taking the time to address my worries.

All the very best to you and your folks,

V V Worried aka messed-up cookie x

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Cookie,

Thanks for your thanks and your donation to the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org). Both are warmly appreciated. In return I'm sending an extra dose of my good-luck karma that your test will be negative and your cookie will no longer be messed up! I suggest you start practicing your WOO-HOO, OK?

Good luck.

Dr. Bob

Seroconversion: symptoms? Aug 3, 2009

Dr B,

Seroconversion: does it entail symptoms like the ARS does?

Fever etc. will occur as symptoms of ARS in most ppl a few weeks after getting the disease, and then they will sero-convert usually about 3 months after, right?

When they seroconvert, does that process include symptoms like the ARS, or does it happen completely on the sly?

I'm scared sh*t of an exposure that on the face of it seems "low to non-existant" with a csw in amsterdam using a condom throughout that neither broke nor slipped. I experienced no ARS symptoms either. However I may have experienced a fever approx. 4.5 months after my exposure which i now look back on and have decided was me "sero-converting". It went on for months too. Does a fever accompany the conversion process? And is 4.5 months a valid amount of time to suspect seroconversion?

I have a persistent (months) swollen lymph node in my neck and CRP and e-sed blood exams as well as a chest x-ray all came back normal, which kind of worries me even more cos i'd rather they picked up something. my GF had a mystery fever that scared the sh*t out of me and all in all i'm a messed-up cookie that just needs a hiv expert to tell me my risk is remote and my symptoms don't fit so i can grow the ballz to get tested!

around the same time of 4.5 months after exposure i noticed an odd taste in my mouth that only pops up here and there but has persistently been there and i've never experienced it before this time and i know it's either the hiv or the oral thrush. what's the deal with funny tastes in mouth?

please address my questions and tell me to man-up and go get tested please Dr B I will donate to the foundation I just need some support from a knowledgeable professional and general kick-ass dude like yourself!!!

sorry for clogging up your inbox with my chyte!

all the best!

V V worried ! ! !

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello V.V. Worried (a k a "messed-up cookie"),

Seroconversion refers to the development of detectable levels of anti-HIV antibodies in the blood. In other words going from "HIV antibody negative" to "HIV antibody positive."

Acute retroviral syndrome (ARS) is a combination of symptoms that can accompany the seroconversion process. The severity and spectrum of these symptoms can vary greatly from person to person. Some folks have such mild symptoms they go unnoticed while others experience symptoms so sever they wind up in the hospital.

Most HIV-infected folks will have detectable levels of anti-HIV antibodies in their blood within four to six weeks after primary HIV infection. Some folks may take a bit longer to seroconvert. That is why we recommend waiting at least three months to get HIV tested.

I agree your HIV-acquisition risk is "low to nonexistent." A fever 4.5 months after your walk on the wild side in Amsterdam's red light district is not consistent with ARS. Symptoms of ARS manifest themselves two to three weeks after infection.

So, as requested, here is my advice. It's as simple as 1-2-3:

1. Man-up.

2. Grow a set.

3. Get tested. (You'll be glad you did!)

The results will undoubtedly be negative and you'll soon be screaming YABBA-DABBA-DO-WOO-HOO like a banshee in heat.

Thanks for the 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 is negative. I'm very confident it will indeed be negative.

I'd also suggest you peruse the wealth of information on this site and in its archives. You should find the information enlightening and encouraging.

Be well. Stay well. (Yes, you are indeed well.)

Dr. "Knowledgeable Professional General Kiss-Ass Dude"



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