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I want to put an end to the stress and obsession. Pls help!
Jun 5, 2011

Hi Doc,I have been looking at the various posts and find this site refreshing compared to all the misleading info given by Dr google. You are, by far, the most knowledgeable and the funniest so maybe you can help put away my fears once and for all. You've helped so many people. I have been a hypochondriac for a while and have put myself through anxiety and stress. I want this to stop. Here it goes:

I am a heterosexual male. Over the years I have had encounters with various women. Vaginal sex has been protected 99% of the time. Insertive oral sex hasn't always been protected and fellatio has never been protected.

Back in September of 2010, I had a CBC with differential done and the doc said my levels were good. I was pretty satisfied. Early December I weighed 226lbs. a side effect to one supplement was possible weight loss due to a reduction in cortisol. I started taking supplements to help with anxiety and sleep. During this time I was obsessing about other diseases. I started to feel my weight drop a bit by the way my clothes were fitting. That's when my freaking out started. I would wake up with severe anxiety thinking I had HIV. By March 1st, I weighed 220 lbs. The first thing that came to mind was HIV! I was feverishly researching all the symptoms putting myself in a panic. Since January to recently I have experienced some symptoms: warm flushing with no fever, I had a tickle in my throat for about a month which made me cough on occasion, for a month I was getting small cuts in my mouth...sores maybe? They would last a few days then go away, a canker sore,a cut on the side of my mouth (angular chellitis?) A rash broke out on my back while vacationing in Florida. My wife said the rash interestingly enough was in the shape of the lounge chair's plastic criss-cross pattern. I remember having only half the towel covering the chair and it only went up half my back. I went to a clinic and I was told contact dermatitis. Rash went away 5 days later. In the back of my mind I'm thinking the "HIV rash". I thought I had oral thrush but dentist said It looked like I was biting inside cheeks. Recently, I noticed tiny pin prick dots on bottom of foot. Petechiae? Thrombocytopenia? I've had NO swollen lymph nodes or NO fever. I have put the weight back on. My clothes are fitting like they used to and then some. I've had some tiredness but no fatigue. I am freaking. I want to get a rapid HIV test but I'm not emotionally ready for that. The anxiety of awaiting the response will probably put me in a straight jacket LOL!

Could my stress and anxiety be causing these symptoms. What about symptomatic HIV disease? Am I at that stage? I find it interesting that since my obsession with HIV I get symptoms every time I read about them. Please help. I appreciate what you do. How do I donate?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

You think I'm the "most knowledgable and funniest"??? Hmm. I'll bet you say that to all the cyber-sexperts.

I agree with your self diagnosis: hypochondriasis. "Dr. Google" is particularly bad for hypochondriacs! You state that with your HIV obsession you "get symptoms every time (you) read about them." BINGO! There's your problem! You also report you have obsessed about other diseases as well.

Your HIV-acquisition risk is extremely low. Your "symptoms" are consistent with anxiety, not HIV.

My advice is that you seek the help of a licensed mental health practitioner to help you confront and conquer your totally irrational fears of HIV and other illnesses. Irrational obsession with HIV can be a sign of depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder or hypochondriasis. All are very treatable conditions. Left untreated these conditions can worsen and really screw up your life.

Dr. Bob



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