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Fear and Anxiety
Jun 16, 2004

I am a 24 year old woman who is incredibly scared to get tested. I've read so many conflicting articles and stories that it's making my brain go numb. I had unprotected sex without ejaculation with a coworker about two years ago. Roughly 3-5 days later I got a fever of 103 and had to go to the hospital. My tonsils swelled up to the point where I was talking funny. They put me on antibiotics, but I think my strep test came back negative. Other than that, I didn't have any body aches or anything. I've heard that symptoms can show up 3 days later and I've also heard they won't show up for 3-6 weeks. I have no reason to believe that this man was HIV+ aside from the fact that if he had unprotected sex with me then he probably has with a lot of other women.

One of the other things that I've heard that really stands out in my mind is that a lot of ignorant clinic workers are saying that the majority of hiv+ patients they come in contact with were at one point IV drug users.

I understand that a one time incident with no ejaculation (without knowing his status) is not "extremely high risk", but the fact that I had a fever of 103 and very swollen tonsils scares the crap out of me.

I know I really need some counseling for my health anxiety, but I would also appreciate some clarification on the issues I've brought up. Thanks in advance!

Response from Dr. Lee

Please! I encourage you to get tested. Sitting on a potential bomb is no way to prevent it from going off. That said, you are correct that you probably have a relatively low risk from a one-time exposure (by the way, "no ejaculation" is not much protection because HIV may be carried in the pre-ejaculate). It sounds very much as though you may have had mononucleosis, but I wasn't there and therefore cannot help you with a definitive diagnosis. Please, talk to your doc. Get tested and be safe!

Bew well.

PS It is probably less expensive, less time-consuming and all around more productive to be tested rather than entering "counseling for your health anxiety."


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