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College Student who can't concentrate at 4:13AM (EXAMS TOMORROW)
Dec 11, 2009

Hello Dr.

You're truly an angel for helping all of us, like myself, who are so lost and confused in dealing with this disease that many know so little about.

Here's my situation: The only risk factor I have is that I got a blood test a few weeks ago (for other things-although they put in HIV and it was negative).

For some reason, I had a really bad feeling about this test even though nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

Here's what's happened since. 1) Exactly 2 weeks after, w/o researching any HIV symptoms or anything, I woke up with numbness and pain in my fingers and toes, especially fingers. It hurt to type and I had a lot of weakness in all my arm/ leg muscles. I also had an ulcer on my gum that was quite painful at the time. 2) 6 days after that, I got sick. I don't think I had a fever, but I had a sore throat and was incredibly tired (also had stuffed nose but I know that's not applicable). -Since then I had a sore throat but no fever for almost a month. I really wasn't worried until I read about the peripheral neuropathy as a symptom. Now I'm ridiculously frightened.

I know they say that nurses don't mess up- I even went in to ask and they said that needles are non-reusable.

These symptoms seem a little strange though don't they?

It's been almost 8 weeks since the incident, should I get tested? I'll add that I'm a virgin and have never done any injection drugs.

Thanks so much and I'll donate as soon as I get a little Christmas money if you answer this question!!!

Please, I need to do well on these finals and this is all I can think about.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello College Student,

It's unfortunate that young adults can get all the way to college and still be "so lost and confused in dealing with this disease that many know so little about." If we had sound science-based, age-appropriate sex education in primary school, you (and many others) wouldn't be in this predicament!

Your problem is not HIV, but rather "fear" of HIV. You do not have peripheral neuropathy. Your HIV risk is nonexistent. Blood-drawing syringes are not reused. Your symptoms are not strange. They are quite consistent with stress and anxiety.

HIV testing is not warranted. Studying for your finals (and acing your tests is)!

Good luck. Be well. Stay well. (Yes, indeed, other than worrying, you are well!)

Dr. Bob



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