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Struggling to carry on :-(..please reply
Sep 9, 2009

Dear Dr.Bob,

I'm sorry Dr.Bob. But, I'm really struggling to go on with these symptoms. I used to have a great little life. I love my wife and kids, where I live and even my job. But, Im so stressed that Ive ruined everyones lives. I feel like Ive reached a brick wall and dont know what else to do.

Ive written to you a number of times but, I havent had a reply. The stress Im going though is building and building up as I cant see where to go from here.

My situation is that almost 3 years ago I had sex with a black CSW in a brothel in Germany. I was extremely drunk and cant remember an awful lot of what went on. It started as protected oral, then protected vaginal but, for the life of me I cant remember how well protected it was. I remember her mentioning taking off the condom. But, cant remember if I had unprotected sex or not. The next morning I was horrified at what Id done and also noticed a small tear at the opening of my urethra.

Anyway, I had flu symptoms 4 weeks following this encounter (fever and aches for a week, no sore throat or rash). I got tested at my local GUM clinic (Im in the UK) 7 weeks following my risk and this was negative. Then at 12 weeks, negative again. So at this point I thought, great no HIV and my wife and I started having unprotected sex again. However, I did go to my doctor over an ache I had started to get in my groin area. I had enlarged lymph nodes but, tested negative for Chamydia etc. To me the lymph nodes feel the same as they did then. Anyway, over the last 3 years Ive had a change in bowel habit to softer looser stools and simultaneously rapidly receding gums. After reading up on the causes of rapidly receeding gums I started to worry that Id had a false negative so got tested again. And again it was negative (4th generation test). However, I then got urethritis 7 months ago, tested negative for Chalmydia etc. It cleared up but, recurs every month or so. Plus, over a similar time period Ive been getting sore gums with open sores and ulcers appearing on them. A patch of Psoriasis has also suddenly appeared on my leg that Ive never had before. Ive an area on my back that keeps tingling. Ive also got athletes foot that wont clear up, a very itchy and sore anus (I guess from passing chronic loose stools) and this morning I freaked when I saw a patch of white under my tongue. It looked very much like thrush and wiped off when I touched it. Over the last few months Ive got tested again with a 4th generation hiv test and 2 instant fingerprick tests. All negative. So to summarise my testing: 7 weeks hiv 1 / 2 (possibly 4th gen)-negative 12 weeks hiv 1 / 2 (possibly 4th gen)-negative 2 years and 2 months hiv 1 / 2 4th generation negative 2 years and 10 months hiv 1 / 2 4th generation negative 2 years and 8 months hiv 1 / 2 Insti test negative 2 years and 11 months hiv 1 / 2 insti test negative

Im so down about this now. And think that I have an undetectable strain of hiv and that I have infected my wife (she suddenly started to get heavy periods about 6 months ago). Every time I go to my local clinic they dont seem to listen to me and just offer the same test again. What can I do?? Im having real visible symptoms that are increasing. Please reply this time.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Your repeatedly negative HIV tests out to 2 years and 11 months are definitive and conclusive. HIV is not your problem. No way. No how. No further HIV testing is warranted.

I can't diagnose the cause of your symptoms over the Internet, but what I can do with absolute certainty is advise you what is not causing your symptoms: It's not HIV! There is no doubt that stress, anxiety and depression are contributing to your symptom complex. I would strongly suggest you seek psychotherapy (counseling) to help you cope with your anxiety and depression and also to help you accept the overwhelming and irrefutable evidence that you are HIV negative. You are not alone in having this type of problem. Check the archives and you'll find many others with similar irrational and totally unwarranted fears.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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