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How can I be a worried well?
Jan 21, 2011

Hi Dr. Bob,

I have probably written to you 4 or 5 times over the past 2 years. You answered once and your answer was what could be expected: symptoms are notoriously unreliable for predicting who is or isn't infected with HIV - GO GET TESTED!

To me, my symptoms pointed in no other direction - a high risk unprotected receptive anal encounter which was followed by ARS like symptoms and then enlarged neck lymph nodes and drenching night sweats which last to this day. I spent months combing through the internet obsessing and reading every single HIV site.

I was petrified and unable to seek medical help. I was worried that I would lose friends, my job and that I could potentially go to jail if ever I had any future sexual relationships. This lasted for two years up until very recently when I finally decided to head to SPOT (a project in Montreal for a study that offers anonymous testing).

You have probably already guessed: my rapid test was negative.

I am currently seeking out additional medical attention for what could be causing my symptoms. Hopefully I have not caused any damage by delaying my trip to the doctor.

I never thought I would be considered a worried well. I wasted two years of my life. I destroyed relationships. I engaged in self destructive behaviour because I was convinced of my impending demise.

I can't change the past, but I can change what happens now. I'm coming out of this more educated about HIV than I ever would have been had this not happened.

I would like to thank you for everything that you do. Throughout this whole ordeal, your words made things just a little more bearable. I plan on making a donation once I get my life back in order.

Knowing is definitely better than not knowing.

There is no argument to the contrary.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Thank you for taking the time to write in and share your story. I'm hopeful it will help others still stuck in "worried well hell."

Be well. Stay well, and oh yeah, WOO-HOO!

Dr. Bob



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