More than a thank you
Apr 16, 2011
It is with great seriousness that I write to you Dr. Robert. What you do everyday, is truly amazing. It is because of you, that our world is a better place. I felt like I needed to share my story with the readers, because I was one too. With that said, I proudly say that I had my first HIV test today, and the results, much to my surprise, were negative. I am writing not to just share my news, but to share my story with you... and all of your faithful readers. I am a recently out 24 year old man. I had two counts of unprotected insertive anal with a guy of unknown status last may, along with a host of other oral encounters were guys i found out later were poz. As it was my first experiences with guys, "I didn't know any better" (which is the world's worst excuse). Unfortunately, three-four weeks after these encountersI came down with the worst sore throat, fever and swollen glands I had seen. I tested for strep and mono, but I had mono when i was 19. After a quick google search, i came across HIV. It was never something I thought of before. At this moment, I was convinced I had been infected. My symptoms lasted two or so weeks, yet my lymph nodes in the neck were swollen for the rest of the summer. In the fall, I had what I thought was a case of oral hairy leukoplakia. For nearly ten months, I scoured the internet for stories like mine, looking for people with my story... just to see if they tested neg. Today, I finally found the courage to get to a testing clinic, and got my test. I have never been so nervous or overwhelmed in my life, but I can assure you I am beyond happy I went. I finally can put that behind me and move on. I can live my life again. For those of you who are unsure of your status, or fear you may have been infected.. get tested. I am a clear case that symptoms are notoriously misleading. Add me to your list of worried wells... can I get a woo hoo?
Response from Dr. Frascino
Thanks for taking the time to write in and share your story and your great news! I found one comment alarming. You are 24-years-old and yet HIV "was something (you) never thought of before"??? YIKES! Obviously our HIV awareness and prevention programs are failing in a very dramatic way. Thirty years into the pandemic with another American getting infected every 9.5 minutes and with over 25,000,000 deaths worldwide, I had hoped HIV/AIDS would be an integral part of general health education in all schools (and homes!).
I'm delighted you've now done some catch-up work to learn more about HIV. Please "pay it forward." That means take your experience and what you've learned here and help educate others -- friends, colleagues, family members, even Tea Party wackos! I'm confident your testimonial on this site will help others still stuck in their self-induced worried-well hell to get tested.
I have one final comment just for you: WOO-HOO!
Be well. Stay well.
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