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HIV fear and serious psychosomatic illness

Mar 14, 2010

Dear Dr Bob,

I would appreciate if you posted this for the benefit of all the seriously worried among us.

I was unlucky to fall ill exactly three weeks after a risky incident with a girl in Eastern Africa. From then on I experienced a variety of symptoms over a period of more than 7 months: Night sweats, dizzyness, fevers, headaches, muscle sores, tingling feeling of feet and hands, blurred vision, a prostate infection, rashes and dry skin. In the end my fingers and partly my right leg were paralyzed. I was certain I had HIV. Physicians I consulted were clueless about the cause of the symptoms. I wasn't reassured by that, or by the 5 HIV negative tests I took over the period.

As you adivsed me on this forum - thank you so much for that! - , I seeked and found treatment for pyschosomatic illnesses. I was diagnosed with a somatoform disorder and anxiety disorder. Put simply: the combination of an (non-HIV) infection, too much stress and constant fear made me so sick that in the end I was barely able to walk. After hard work and 10 weeks in a clinic I am finally back to more or less normal life.

My message is: Never underestimate the effects that your mind (stress, anxiety etc) has on your body! Psychosomatic illnesses are as serious as any other illness, and they can and must be treated!

Good luck to all of you! Chris

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Chris,

Thanks for your thanks and for taking the time to write in and share your story. I frequently discuss the possibility of psychosomatic illness, but most worried wells reject the concept without serious consideration. Hopefully your testimonial will encourage them to reconsider this commonly under-diagnosed and very treatable condition.

I'm delighted to hear you have broken free of your worried-well hell and are now back to your normal life.

Be well Chris!

Dr. Bob

Possible Exposure While on PEP
I donated another 20 because you read my question.

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