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HIV Transmission and Education >> Am I Infected?

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How to cope with window? Suggestions :)
      #11272 - 10/24/00 04:27 AM

Well, I posted this earlier for another post a few threads down and thought I'd repost it here. It might help for some, might not for others. Anyway, here goes. This is what I did after having unprotected oral sex (both ways) and protected vaginal sex with an escort worker in chicago.

What did I do?

1.) Told her. This may or may not be the right thing to do -- all I knew is that I'd go crazy having to always think that everytime I was around her I could be infecting her with something. So I told her, we worked it out (she's very forgiving) and will be working out for a long time. But it's my mistake, and this is sort of my punishment. Part of the problem for the first week that I didn't tell her was that I was feeling sooooo guilty I couldn't take it, for the same reasons you're probably feeling. Was it right to unload all of that on her? I don't know... But I think it was fair that she know the truth. I kept thinking "If I keep this from her, I'll never know if this relationship is genuine."

2.) Told my brother (I'm 22, he's 20, best friend). Confide in someone you know to help you through this. For the first week he was there constantly for me. He was the 1st person I told and I just *broke down* when I told him, bawled nonstop for like 20 minutes because I was so ashamed and unhappy with myself. There will be, and will continue to be, a lot of UNHAPPY feelings about yourself. I'm seeing a counselor to help me through this at my school, and if it helps, you may want to consider this option. More so than almost anytime in your life, you will need people.

3.) Hung out with ppl that can make me laugh, smile, or enjoy myself. Read a book. Watched TV. Ate bad junk food (it's okay!). I think I said in a previous post that I've actually gained 5 pounds eating my favorite desert from a local restaraunt so much. A good habit? No, but one that helps when I've been down!

4.) Got tested! It will scare the CRAP out of you when you get tested because it will put everything in front of your face for awhile and make you very nervous. Nothing you can do but try and make the time pass. It will, sooner than you think! Before you know it, you'll have a negative result and feeling better. In regards to PCR testing -- if it will ease your mind, and you can afford it, DO IT. I couldn't afford it (especially after I blew $300 on the escort), but I did it anyway (damned credit cards!) Got results back today and guess what -- a HUGE sigh of relief. Are they totally conclusive? No... but I'll take 98%+ anyday of the week over knowing nothing. At 3 months, when I do a final round of tests, then I'll feel 100% in the clear.

5.) TRIED (heh, tried!) to weigh the actualy likelihood of getting something first. For example, I think Ryan Kull (sp?) posted on the Transmission forum that in a study of 1,000 mixed status couples in African (HIV+ women, - men), the actual # infected over a given period of time was from 1-3 (depending on viral load of women). That's really low! For workers stuck with HIV+ needles, infection rate is only .3%! So, think about how UNLIKELY it is that you got anything!

By the way, this is SOOO hard to do :)

So, Need help, relax. Try and enjoy yourself. You used a condom. Condoms have a 99.7% rate of success in preventing transmission of STDS. Now, consider that anything even squeezed throught his small .3% left. Let's say that the likelihood of getting HIV from one chance of unprotected sex is 1 in a 1000. .001%. Maybe a little low, who knows. Let's say that's your chance here. .001% of .3%. That's super low!

6.) Don't think about syptoms! First, you can have HIV without syptoms, so it doesn't matter either way (30% of ppl who get HIV do not experience syptoms). Second, HIV looks like a lot of bugs going around right now. I could have sworn I had HIV by my syptoms, just as nearly everyone else on this board! Don't do it!


(Forgive the typos, too lazy to back and fix all of them!)

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