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HIV Transmission and Education >> Am I Infected?

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Reged: 09/21/11
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Scared to Get Tested? Please Do - Read My Story
      #257726 - 09/21/11 10:59 PM

This is not a question but a post with my experience. It is especially for those that are too scared to get tested because they are convinced they have HIV from some sort of sexual encounter (or other source). Please get tested, life is too short to live worrying and obsessing over something you likely do not have - the actual chances, especially for a straight human being, are extremely low.

I am a male in my early 30's and straight and in the USA. I had a risk experience (unnoticed broken condom) with a sex worker from a under-developed country that I was visiting on vacation - it was a drunken haze and a huge mistake. About two-three weeks after this experience, I had a fever and sore throat. I even got some strange rash on my arm which I have never had in my life. I immediately went to Google and found that my symptoms were consistent with ARS. I browsed a bunch of these types of boards convinced I had HIV. But I refused to get tested because I feared the result which I thought was certain - that I was HIV positive. I have an ethnic family that would be extremely disappointed if not disown me and never speak to me again. I lived life like I was a ghost, I stopped hanging out with friends, my work performance went down as I thought I had nothing to live for, etc. This went on for about four months. I just kept thinking about "why me?" and convinced myself I was one of those 1 out of 1000 statistics about HIV infection. Then I met this girl at work, a new co-worker, and we hit it off, we hung out together all the time that I somehow started to push the HIV fears in the back of my head. We never had sex, nor would we have if she offered, as I was convinced I was infected. This went on for about a month. During this time, I thought may be I should get tested for HIV as may be, just maybe, I don't have it as I focused in on statistics about the risk factor being 1 in 1,000 (which I saw on the internet).

But then while I was researching, I read information about how if you have syphilis, your chances of HIV increase. Then I read the symptoms for syphilis and convinced myself that I had an undiagnosed syphilis infection from this girlfriend years ago. Then I started noticing I had a WHITE TONGUE, I thought I could feel swollen lymph nodes, I got a pain in my joints. I Google'd and found Oral Thrush and thought I also had OHL (oral hairy). I even did that "spit test" and found I "failed" and had Oral Thrush. I cried like a baby the day I noticed the white tongue and thought it was all over.

After that, I wasn't living, I was just staying alive. I stopped talking to the co-worker girl as I did not want to infect her. I even contemplated suicide - I am not joking. I even prepared a WILL. I thought of ways I would kill myself and what I would put in the suicide note so that the people I left behind would feel better. I had this whole plan of going to the testing clinic, get the results, then going straight to jump off a bridge. But then I saw some documentary or news piece on TV about living with HIV. It was a woman, who was infected by her husband as the husband cheated on her, she did nothing wrong and she got infected. And she was so strong, she was living and coping with HIV single and without ever doing anything to even expose herself to risk other than having sex with her husband of 20-odd years. And I thought if she can live with HIV, why can't I? I did all this research and thought you know what life is so precious and I am so spoiled - I live in the best place in the whole world, I have a great job, I have a great family, friends, everything anyone would want and I have to live - suicide is the selfish way out. Then the girl from work approached me and confronted me about why I don't speak with her anymore and asked what she did wrong. The way she talked to me made my heart melt. The way she even smiles, makes my heart melt. So I thought, I need to get tested and if its positive, I will make it through it and live on, tell the girl and see what she says as you CAN have a relationship with a negative person as a positive person. If I am negative, I can date this girl and have experienced such a life changing sequence of events that will make me live life fuller.

Given the symptoms and the incident with the sex worker, I went to get tested with the assumption that I am positive - I am not going to lie, I have never been so nervous in my life, I thought I was going to pass out. They took the test and I waited for my results for about an hour. I thought I was going to get them faster, as I waited, I convinced myself that it was taking longer because they were trying to prepare to tell me that I had HIV. They called me and she didn't even make eye contact me and said "your negative, have a good day". THE RELIEF, THE JOY, THE HEARTBEATING, it all happened. I almost kissed the nurse. I ran immediately, literally ran, to a taxi, jumped in, took me back to my work, I called my co-worker into my office and I looked into her eyes and said "I really really really like you" - I know, very lame. We started dating and been dating ever since - that was about a year ago.

I now live life on a whole different level - I am actually glad what happened to me happened to me though I wish I got tested earlier. It changed me for the better. If you don't want to read all of the above, please take this from this story:

1) Most important, HIV is not a "gay" disease or a "drug addict" disease or a "sex worker" disease or whatever - it can happen to anyone - don't judge people. I would be a liar to say before this experience I did not think of all those things but researching this disease has changed me. And even if you are positive, there is treatment and support out there, don't give up ever. The treatment out there is amazing these days and you can live a "normal" life - it will certainly be tough on some days more than others but give thanks for what you have as there are people always in "worse' situation - there are kids that don't have clean water and don't have the freedom to choose their own religion in parts of the world.

2) No matter what the symptoms, it does not mean ANYTHING. I think people should stop even using the term "HIV symptoms" - all of the HIV symptoms can relate to a million different things - including just a flu. Look at all the things I had, high fever, sore throat, rash - all after 2 weeks of the incident. The WHITE tongue for gods sake. Recently, one of my friends sent me a bunch of pictures we had from when we went to Europe together and I found a picture in there with us sticking our tongues out and guess what, I had the same white texture THREE years ago - but when you worry about this stuff, you focus in on things you never look at and think it all relates to HIV even though it could have been there pre-risk encounter. Ever since my negative test, I don't have any of the joint pain, feeling of swollen lymph nodes, etc. The symptoms mean nothing, just get tested. Look at all my symptoms, most of you likely are not in the extreme position I ended up with and I came out NEGATIVE. I even got my family doctor to do another test that took three weeks and that came out NEGATIVE too.

Don't live life like this, life is too short. I seriously wasted about a year of my life - in my prime - on this and I could have just had the same feeling I have now, 9-10 months ago. The girlfriend and I are still dating and I am going to propose to her in the next few months.

Also please take time to help out people in need as too many people don't want to help because of some misconception about the disease. Your little time and effort can mean so much. I am very shortly going to begin my volunteer job at an AIDS clinic spending a few hours a week mentoring young HIV infected people with their careers. And they all have such a positive attitude, its unbelievable.

Please if your scared, don't be, just go get tested, either way it will work out BUT you likely DO NOT HAVE it. It is EXTREMELY rare in developed countries although you should always obviously practice safe sex. My incident wasn't even in North America and I came out negative. Honestly, please get tested. If you need to talk, please PM me or e-mail me at

Also if someone knows where I can get this story posted on an HIV website as a column or something so people can send a link to their friend that is too scared to get tested, please let me know.

Thank you.

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I tried emailing you but it failed, please help me new
      #258107 - 09/29/11 08:18 AM

3 and a half weeks ago I had sex with my girlfriend twice with condoms whom later on in the week after 1day I got to learn that she is hiv positive. The problem is, during one of the times we were having sex, the condom was small so it did not roll down down completely to cover my whole pennis, half of my pennis was bare during that whole time we were having sex. the lower half of my pennis which the condom had failed to roll and cover was inside her vigina and was all covered with her viginal fluids during all that time we were having sex. however 3 days later we had intimate body rubbing each other using my pennis ( no blow jobs and sucking) but just a few kisses on the brests And the other risk was that I rubbed my pennis in her buttocks (butt), . At the end of the intimate moment she poured viginal fluids on my pennis, I think including the head of the pennis got wet as well. After 11 days since our sex encounter I got a sore throat which later on led to other early signs of acute hiv infections like fever, sweating at night, joint pains, muscle aches fatigue, developed Lymphadenopathy on my neck and a headache. I need your help, having unknowingly slept with an hiv positive person and the early signs am recieving am really scared, was I at risk or exposed, because it`s now 3 weeks since our encounter but am still not feeling well. What makes me freaked out is the fact that I have got all the symptoms. Please my friends out there please help me. You can just your reply in any way
Thank you.

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Reged: 10/26/11
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Re: Scared to Get Tested? Please Do - Read My Story new
      #258741 - 10/26/11 06:27 PM

Hi There.
Just to say that a couple of weeks ago when I was going out of my mind with worry about getting test results, the above story REALLY helped me.
I'm a hetrosexual male from the UK who recently split up with my GF of 6 years. In that time we had unprotected sex many, many times and had direct blood to blood contact.
Now, I know that I hadn't always been as careful as I could be in the past, and nor had my ex, so when, about a month after we broke up, I became involved with someone else (my current GF ) I figured it was time to get tested for HIV. I wasn't particularly worried that I had anything but I felt I had a duty to make sure for my GFs sake, so when she went on holiday for 10 days I went to my GP and had my bloods taken and then went to work. I was told to book an apointment a week later to get my results.

That was the longest, most terrifying 7 days of my life.

See, I made the mistake of looking on the Internet for symptoms. I read that Tonsillitis can be a symptom of having contracted HIV. I remembered that I'd gotten tonsillitis a few months after my ex and I got together. S**t.
As it happens, I also have psoriasis on my elbows. Guess what? Psoriasis can be associated with HIV. I first noticed it...? yep, just after my ex and I got together.
Or then again did I?
Because actualy, I know that I had mild psoriasis on my ankles and my hairline for years before we got together. Did I have it on my elbows? I dunno, I never look at them! The point is that thats 2 "symptoms" right there, so logic and memory take a running jump out the window to be replaced by a cold cold fear in the pit of my stomach. I started to go out of my mind.
The icing on the cake was "symptom" No 3. Anguloar cheillosis is an extremely common condition that causes cracks to form at the corners of the mouth. It can be caused by Vitamin B deficiency, Iron deficiency... In fact many many things... including (rarely) HIV.
I don't know how I got through that week. I think 2 things kept me sane(ish). One of my co-workers was the only person I told apart from ex GF. She was so incredibly supportive, reminding me that, if you're not part of, or have had contact with a high risk group, then your chances of infection are extremely low. She was really great and incredibly comforting.
The other thing was the above post. The OPs story, the "symptoms", the fear that you've ruined a relationship with someone you really, really care for and might, in fact be in love with, all hit home really hard for me. The fact is that many, many EXTREMELY common conditions, that you've probably had at some time or another can be associated with HIV. Youve probably had more than one. It probably means NOTHING. If you look on the internet, you will find things to convince you that you are infected weather you are or not. You will scare yourself so badly that you will no longer be able to think straight. You will trawl you memory for signs and symptoms and you'll drive yourself crazy trying to establish dates and times of things that seemed (and were) entirely insignificant. Any of this sound famillier?
Results day came. I was a Wreck. I went to the doctors surgery. I swear the receptionist double taked me when she looked at the computer screen to confirm my appointment. Was there a note about me?!!???!
No. I tested negative. I am not infected with HIV. my blood is entirely normal.
And I'm sure that yours will be too
Oh, and I'm still with my new GF. She's incredible and I adore her.
Good luck, I hope this helped.

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