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I want to be a reformed fluffernutter
Oct 11, 2010

Dr. Bob,

Thank you so much for responding to my long rambling post! It has helped me snap out of the month long depression I've been in.

http://www.thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/SafeSex/Current/Q211076.html

People at work have noticed the change in me, from good to bad and now back to almost normal. I had no idea so many people were aware that I was having a problem, but apparently my sad expression was giving me away.

So yes, I feel better, but I still can't beat this thing. It sneaks up on me every day, usually at the most random times. Yesterday for instance, I was standing outside inhaling the scent of my flowering shrubs, and it filled me with such happiness, and then I thought, "Oh wait, you gave your husband HIV, you have no right to be happy!" So of course I went inside and started peering into my mouth, looking for symptoms! My whole day was ruined and I convinced myself I'm killing him by not getting tested. Now whenever I look at him I want to cry my eyes out.

So, here is my question:

Should I be worried about HIV-2 as I have no idea what kind of rapid test I took? (remember the whole Africa situation I told you about, I could be at risk!)I know it's rare, but really, anything is possible! Why else am I and my husband having all of these symptoms!

I have researched this extensively (of course) and I know there is an OraSure oral fluid test that only tests for HIV-1. I cannot remember if my test was an OraSure or an OraQuick or an OraQuick Advance. All I know is I took the wand and swabbed my upper and lower gums, he put that in a solution and 20 minutes later told me that I did not have HIV. He did the same thing with my husband, who was told he did not have it either.

Again, thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I know that if I could just find the courage to get tested again, I could put all this behind me. BUT I'M TOO CHICKEN!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Should you be worried about HIV-2? No, of course not. Regarding the exact type of test you and your husband took, I have no way of knowing. Why not contact the doctor's office, clinic or testing site where you had the test performed. They will have your records and quickly be able to provide you with the information.

My assessment and advice have not changed. See below. If you indeed want to shed your fluffernutter status, you need to seek psychiatric care. HIV is not your problem; irrational fear is!

Dr. Bob

Another positive I'm positive fluffernutter Sep 29, 2010

Hi Bob. I've been reading so many of your answers I feel like I know you. I'm another HIV positive person with a negative test, but of course, I think my situation is different.

For eight years I had numerous unprotected encounters. Call it my idiotic years I guess. I was young and stupid. I settled down in 2003, am now married and should have put this behind me long ago.

So my story is this, a year ago I freaked out about my status, had a melt down, told my husband we were HIV positive, nearly gave him a heart attack, and then admitted I hadn't been tested, but that I had ALL of the symptoms. He immediately made an appointment for us to get tested (smart man, my husband).

We took an oral fluid test, I have no idea if it tested for HIV 2, at the time I hadn't done extensive research. I'm an expert now thanks to the internet and countless hours spent googling every possible thing related to HIV (note the sarcasm).

Okay, so our result was negative. I was free! I was alive! I was HIV negative! I woo-hoo'd for an entire year.

This year, the woohooing has stopped. It all started with a sore on my gum. Then I got sores in my nose. None of them would heal. A sore appeared on my forehead and the googling began. A bruise on my leg meant Kaposi's, the sore in my mouth was thrush, the place on my face was bacteria that was out of control. I started examining myself in the mirror constantly.

I made appointments. I went to the dentist, the dermotologist, an ENT specialist, even my eye doctor. I've been diagnosed with a bacterial infection on my face, which responded to topical steroid treatment, a cavity that needing filling, and dry eyes.

Since then the tip of my tongue has turned red, my mouth burns, and I'm convinced that OHL is growing on the sides of my tongue. I still think I have thrush, and now I've decided the dry spots beside my nose are seborrheic dermatitis. Not to mention the night sweats and ten pounds I've lost.

Also my husband has began to have skin issues AND night sweats as well. I broke down and told him my fears and he told me I'm a hypochondriac, but I secretly thinks he's worried. We're both always tired and there always seems to be health issues (we're 32 by the way, never had kids).

I'm terrified of getting another test. I'm sure the ELISA will come back with a huge POSITIVE. Yes, I'm positive I'm positive. I think the oral test didn't test for HIV 2 and though it's rare I did have sex with someone who had had sex with someone from Africa. She said she was a virgin before having sex with him and at the time I believed her. NOT to say that everyone from Africa is HIV positive, and I have no reason to think she was lying, she was only 18 when she moved to the states, but my mind is a powerful thing and it tells me it's possible she had HIV 2 and now I have it as well (trust me if I could find her number and call her I would, just to see how she is doing! For now I google HIV 2 statistics for her country to gauge my risk).

I know what you'll say, go get tested already and stop worrying. I actually called twice to make an appointment and chickened out both times. Yesterday I convinced myself I was overreacting and that I needed to believe that negative test. Today I'm telling myself it's crazy to not get tested again. UGH!

And signs...talk about signs! It was everywhere last weekend, on every channel. Obama was talking about it, Real Sports on HBO had a story on it, then Precious came on, someone I was chatting with on MSN brought it up (said I had it jokingly, NOT something to joke about!) Someone at work mentioned it. I'm telling you, I can't help thinking it's a sign!

I never post on these sites, but I've been reading all of your positive I'm positive stories and there weren't many that hadn't actually gotten tested (I know, I know, I got tested, but it wasn't a blood test and possibly didn't test for HIV 2).

I hope to hear from you, even if you tell me to get tested again as your advice. Of course I'm hoping you'll tell me to keep woohooing and forget about it. Will I listen to that advice? Absolutely. If you tell me to get tested, it will take a tremendous amount of courage, but I hope I can force myself to do it, if only for my husband's sake.

Thank you so much for dedicating so much of your time to fluffernutters like me.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Fluffernutter,

You claim to be another "HIV positive person with a negative test." Hmm. That's an oxymoron. A completely incongruous contradictory statement just like "deafening silence" or "compassionate conservative"! You can't test HIV negative (outside the window period) and be HIV positive!

You don't need another HIV test, because you don't have HIV; however, you do have a significant medical problem that deserves attention. You have an irrational fear of being HIV infected. Do you really think Obama, Real Sports, MSN and Precious are sending you signs about HIV/AIDS? Of course you don't! If you did we would have to create a new category beyond fluffernutter just for you!

My advice is that you seek psychotherapy with a qualified psychologist or psychiatrist who can help you confront and conquer your totally unwarranted and completely irrational HIV fears.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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