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test results there, too scared to go in!
Dec 10, 2001

Dear Ryan, I had unprotected anal sex approximately 11 months ago, since that time, I have had protected sex with two other men. Since that time, one of my friends' wifes went to donate blood and was informed by her doctor that she had "blood abnormalities". My partner went to be tested at 18 weeks and was negatative...thankfully. Anyways, I haven't really a question...more of a comment. I went to get tested, which took every oz of strength I could muster, unfortunately for me...everytime the nurse went to draw blood, the rubber top on the vial broke off...which resulted in my blood everywhere...and on her 3 times....I am so incredibaly worried that if I am HIV+ the nurse may have been infected to, along with being worried that my partner's results might be positive at 6 months. I was told at the clinic that they didn't have enough blood to test, however because I'd been in two weeks before to test for other STD's they had some remaining blood to test. The results are in! I'm just so very scared to go get them now! So..a couple of questions for you...is a dry mouth indicative of HIV infection? Do clinics track you down somehow if you are positive and did not return for results? Please answer! I am trying to become informed thinking that more information will give me the strength I need to go in and get my results. Thankyou!

Response from Mr. Kull

Many people have a difficult time going in to get their results after being screened for HIV infection, so you're not alone. You cannot assume that a clinic will contact you if you are HIV positive or base your HIV status on symptoms or conditions people commonly experience that are of no consequence(like dry mouth, runny nose, fatigue, etc.). The only way to know your HIV status is to get your results.

Your risk for infection through the unprotected anal sex is mostly determined by your partner's risk for infection. It sounds like he is probably uninfected (if I have your story right) because he had a negative HIV antibody test result. Using a condom during anal sex with partners of unknown status is not only a great way to reduce your risk for infection, but also a way to reduce your anxiety.

It sounds like your experience getting your blood drawn was pretty stressful. No wonder you are having a difficult time going back in to get your result. As far as the nurse is concerned, the clinic at which you had your blood drawn should have protocols in place to help reduce the health care workers' risk for infection with bloodborne pathogens. The nurse would only be at risk for infection if your blood contained HIV and that came into contact with her mucous membranes or bloodstream.

Good luck trying to work through this stressful situation. Try to call on some people in your life who can be supportive as you figure out what you want to do.

RMK



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