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Finally getting tested
      #7317 - 07/19/00 01:18 AM

Hi everyone.

For the last 2 1/2 months I have been living with the fear that I contracted HIV. I think about it 24 hours a day and stress over it...sometimes to the point of crying. I mull over how possible it was for the transmission to occur. I look at all the statistics. I visit this website everyday, every 1/2 hour to read, read, read. I read what Dr. Gallant has to say to look for anything that will alleviate my stress. I can't even think years ahead about marriage and kids because of this shadow that looms over my shoulder. I'm scared about what it would be for me to become positive.

I have so many positive aspects going on in my life. I'm about to start medical school in a few weeks and have a wonderful girlfriend that I hope will become my wife. I have wonderful friends who care about me. Life couldn't be better. But I can't enjoy these things to the fullest. I think about HIV all the time. It scares me. All the pressure of having all these good things and from the people that think highly of me makes me more stressed about having HIV.

I met with a good friend of mine today and confided everything I've been feeling these past 2 1/2 months. He listened to my story and laughed at me because of how paranoid I've become..that I've let HIV consume my life so much. Talking to him about it made me feel much better and he persuaded me to take the HIV test, which i will take on Thursday.

So what's my story? Well, I was in a relationship with a girl who had just gotten out of a relationship 6 months prior (Let's call this guy John). So John and her split up in July. However, John came to visit her and they slept together a few times over the Thanksgiving weekend without the use of any condoms.

Fast forward to the month of January. We meet and she tells me about her entire sexual history. She agrees to get tested and she is negative. Her encounter with John was 6 weeks prior. So the ELISA is negative after 6 weeks. She assures me that John and her have always talked openly about their sexual relationship and that John didn't have sex with anyone after their breakup, except for her.

I am relieved to know that she is negative and she agrees to take another test after the 6 month period passes. But I was stupid. She eventually pressured me to sleep with her without condoms and I gave in and slept with her without protection for 3 months and eventually went back to condoms. She never did get re-tested before we broke up this past November because of schedule conflict. But she did donate blood in October.

I haven't heard from her since. The last thing I heard was that she has a new boyfriend. So I told all of these things to my good friend today and he tells me I have nothing to worry about and encourages me to get tested.

I WANT MY LIFE BACK. I'm very scared. I've read how supportive everyone is and how encouraging the information is here. it seems all of you are so knowledgable about this subject. I was relieved to read that the average time for seroconversion was 25 days. I hope that this is true.

I need all of your support until i get these results. Please if you can relay any relevant experience to me, it would make me feel so much better.

I will be praying for a negative result. God help me.

thank you for reading.

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Re: Finally getting tested new
      #7319 - 07/19/00 02:01 AM

i just want you to know that i understand what you're going through and i hope that i find the courage to get tested. i already prayed for you and i will continue to do so. good luck!

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Worried 2000

Re: Finally getting tested new
      #7326 - 07/19/00 03:27 AM

I have gone through with all what you're going through. I tested negative on a DNA test and an RNA test at 31 and 33 days. I most recently tested negative on an Elisa test after exactly 5 months (February 10 to July 10 = 5 months).

I have to take the bar exam in seven days, and my mind drifts over to HIV every now and awhile. It's terrible.

Early on, I would sleep like 15 hours a day because when I was awake I couldn't handle it. I still have told only my brother and one friend about what's going on with me.

My chances of seroconverting at this point are essentially zero. But man I can't wait until August 8 or so comes around so I can have that 6-month test in the bank.

I know exactly what you're going through. But somehow despite all this adversity, I had the best semester I ever had with grades, and I'm pulling through.

Think about it rationally. If you have HIV, then you have it. But the chances are slight; in your case they are even more slight. Don't kill yourself with anxiety and fear. Let the time run its course and you will most certainly be all right.

And don't let some of the people on this board scare you either. Lots of people (like me) are here because we are neurotic, obsessive, compulsive, etc. We are not representative of the general population. Our need for tests and our anxiety is misplaced. Try to keep an even keel about yourself.

It is very very very unlikely you have HIV. You are going to be a doctor! You're going to have to learn to deal with these kinds of risks every day when you are dealing with patients. Your chances of getting HIV from being a doctor in the future, I would say, are much higher than your likelihood of being infected today, due to what you did a couple months ago.

Keep the faith. And try to stop burning days of your life.

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Re: Finally getting tested new
      #7331 - 07/19/00 07:48 AM

I found it very comforting to know that there are a lot of us out there going through the exact same thing. Just know that there will be days when you are rational and then there will be days when you let your mind play the what if game. Rememeber the rational days and take comfort in your friends and knowing that you are definately not alone in this.

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Re: Finally getting tested new
      #7341 - 07/19/00 04:16 PM

Worried 2000,

thank you for all of the reassurance. It makes me feel better knowing that you, and all of the others, support me. Actually, my last contact with my ex-girlfriend was 7 months ago, so this test I will take tomorrow will be absolutely conclusive. It's funny....though my ex and I were broken up for some time, I didn't think about HIV at all until the last couple of months, and it all stemmed from my current girlfriend getting a sore throat. I was so happy before then! And then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I became depressed, stressed, and ultra-obsessive about HIV. And with the coming of med school making it worse, I stress out big time. But I hide it, pushing down all of my worries to the deepest part of my soul, which is most likely deteriorating my health for the future.

For the rest of the day yesterday I was feeling bummed, and my girlfriend noticed it. But I played it off, like I have been doing the last 2 1/2 months. Just to let you know, I do biological research, and I know all about how to do these ELISA tests and Western Blots and have done them myself. Because of my paranoia I even think about what mistakes can be made through the protocols. I swear, the more I know about HIV, the more scared I get.

Does it really seem unlikely to you, Worried 2000, that I didn't get HIV? I mean, based on my ex's 6 week ELISA and the fact she slept with her ex, it all sounds logically correct. And I haven't had any of the classical symptoms either. But I can try and convince myself all I want and it will never happen.

well, the test is tomorrow at a clinic and will be done anonymously. Does anyone know how long it will take to get the results back?

Pray for me everyone.

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Re: Finally getting tested new
      #7510 - 07/23/00 12:18 PM

Dear 'John'

I know exactly what you mean about this whole issue taking up your life. I too have a bright future - just about to finish a PhD in neuroscience, move to a new flat, start a new career etc. I live in London (England) and had a stupid one-night stand with a heterosexual guy who's HIV status I don't know. I was drunk at the time and although the indicent didn't last very long I just can't beleive I could've been so stupid to have unprotected sex, especially as I have been really careful in the past.
So it's been 2.5 months now, and like you, I have become addicted to reading about HIV, reading this site, reading everything I can basically. Naturally this has not been helping my PhD writing - it probably would be finished by now. Sometimes I am also reduced to tears thinking about how I have messed up my life and how my family and friends would react if I was positive.
I AM going to get tested, after I've submitted my thesis in a few weeks or so. Some people say ignorance is bliss, I say ignorance is worry.
All I wanted to say was I that I can completely sympathise with what you are feeling (as undoubtedly many of the people that use this forum can). Hopefully we will both be OK and can then just get on with our lives. Maybe, by you going through this now will make it easier for you to relate to future patients in the same situation.

Anyway, good luck with everything. There are people out there thinking about you (even if they are on the other side of the Atlantic!)

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