Aches, pains, and nervousness
May 17, 2001
PLEASE ANSWER ME, Mr. Kull. I am driving myself crazy over here.
I had two instances of unprotected sex (with N-9) with a person who is unsure of her HIV status. She says that she has never had any visible symptoms.
Three weeks after those two instances, I had some flu-like symptoms. Then I was fine for about a month and a half. Over the last two weeks, I have been having some mild to moderate pain and aching in my left arm, left shoulder, wrist, and the top of my hand and foot.
I have been very scared and nervous recently, so nervous and scared that it has been distracting me from my work and living a normal life.
A few questions: If a woman had an allergic reaction to N-9, would she know about it? Would she feel it in her? Would there be any visible signs?
Could the aches and pains simply be a result of my nervousness and not of HIV?
Do I have any reason to be nervous in the first place?
What is the prognosis for a terated person vs. a non-treated person?
And finally ... how close do you think we are to a cure?
Response from Mr. Kull
Your question addresses many different issues, many of which are covered in previously answered questions in this forum. I'd urge you to pay specific attention to your statement about the level of your anxiety/worry: "I have been very scared and nervous recently, so nervous and scared that it has been distracting me from my work and living a normal life." It is reasonable for people to have concerns about HIV infection, but when anxiety interferes with your day-to-day functioning there may be something else going on. Anxiety can lead to physical, as well as emotional, symptoms. People often benefit from mental health counseling when experiencing an excessive amount of anxiety (see the National Institute of Mental Health's website http://www.nimh.nih.gov/anxiety/anxietymenu.cfm).
For information about nonoxynol-9, read my response to "Spermicides" http://www.thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/SafeSex/Archive/PreventionSexual/Q11022.qna. Some people actually notice irritation due to an allergic reaction to n-9, but others may not. N-9 should not be used for disease prevention.
As for a cure, we don't have one yet. Scientists come closer every day to making HIV more of a manageable infection, but for many people, AIDS remains a fatal disease.
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