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HIV Transmission and Education >> Am I Infected?

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worried815
Member

Reged: 11/21/03
Posts: 12
Scared and Alone - Please help!
      #78592 - 11/21/03 11:37 AM

Hey Anybody who is listening-

I am really scared that I have gotten HIV and feel terribly alone. I am in a downward spiral and if I don’t talk about this with someone, I think will fall apart or worse.

A little over a month ago, I kissed, briefly received oral sex from, and then had brief protected intercourse with a sex worker in Thailand. The condom did not break or slip, I did not have any cuts or open sores on my penis. I am circumcised. I do not recall having any cuts or sores in my mouth. I did not see or taste any blood, but of course I have no way of knowing if the woman had any cuts or sores in her mouth.

From reading, I know that I am at “extremely low risk.” The problem is, the only part my irrational mind hears in that phrase is “risk.” I understand that much of my fear comes from guilt as I violated some of my most deeply held beliefs. I know full well that many sex workers are forced into their occupation. So, I feel I have taken advantage of someone’s misfortune for my own pleasure. It is hard to forgive myself for this, and I am deeply ashamed.

Even understanding rationally the role guilt plays in my fear of HIV, it is just so hard to believe that I do not have HIV.

In the past few days, I have started to notice “symptoms” of ARS like my throat is sore, I have a pain under my arm which I fear is a swollen lymph node, my groin hurts and I can feel a feel swollen nodes there, etc… Still no fever, and I have a slight cough, which I think is a good sign as it sounds like a cold. Also, at 19 days after this low risk exposure, I took both a HIV antibody test and a P24 Antigen test. They have now both come back negative. I know such test are not considered "definitive", and I understand there is a window period, but these test taken together must have some predictive value, right? I mean, blood banks use them to screen blood, no?

Still I am scared shitless, and have hardly been able to leave my house for days.

Please tell me, is it true that you can’t get HIV from salvia?

I am consumed by fear because I read some article from the Village Voice (circa 1996) that claimed one guy got HIV from receiving oral sex, and another article from 2003 said three guys in Australia (with pierced penises however) got HIV from receiving oral sex as well. Both articles are posted on The Body. Maybe these people are liars and are misreporting their activities, but if not, all this talk of no HIV transmission through salvia is nonsense.

Please reassure me about the following if you can:

1. Nobody has ever been infected with HIV from salvia.

2. The risk for infection through insertive oral sex is practically nonexistent. Testing is not necessary.

3. Transmission of HIV through kissing is not only not rare, it is nonexistent.

4. HIV cannot pass through a properly used latex condom.

I repeat these phrases to myself over and over, but then wonder if I am lying to myself.

Another reason it is hard to let go of my fear or forgive myself for this is that I also cheated on my girlfriend, who despite my behavior, I truly adore. I fear putting her at risk for, but if I tell her about this, she would leave me. I will see her in a few weeks. She is on the pill, so I cant really just whip out the condoms, plus if HIV can be transmitted by salvia, even those would not help. So, I have really messed up and put myself in a very difficult position. The day before she arrives will be sixty days since the above described “extremely low risk” encounter. Is there any value in a Hiv antibody test at 60 days (approx. 8 weeks)? Would I be putting my GF at risk for HIV if I don’t tell her about this? (I tested negative for other STDs already). I would rather lose her than put her at risk.

Thanks,
Worried




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Jackie_Blue
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Reged: 10/26/00
Posts: 2028
Re: Scared and Alone - Please help! new
      #78599 - 11/21/03 01:09 PM

Let's take this one at a time.

Kissing. HIV is not transmitted by kissing. There was no risk there.

Receiving Oral Sex. As of this date, and over 20 years since the start of this, there have been no CONFIRMED cases of transmission from receiving oral sex. Matter of fact, studies have shown that something in Saliva inhibits HIV. So not only does it not transmit the virus, it can help to keep it from being transmitted. At this point most doctors don't even recommend testing after this type of exposure.

Protected Sex: It was protected. There were no problems with the condom. This isn't a risk.

So put that all together and what you have is NO risk. Not low risk.

I think you have a good handle on what might be causing this. Now is the time to work on that. We all do things we regret and are ashamed of later. That's part of life, that's one way we learn. If we didn't try things and then find out after that it made us uncomfortable or guilty, we'd never learn what doesn't work for us. It sounds from your post that this is the case. You've done something, that afterwards you just can't reconcile to who you are. That's OK. You learned. Forgive yourself.

While your tests certainly weren't conclusive, with the P24 thrown in, it's a very good indication that your final test will also be a negative.

Don't sweat the symptoms. During this stressful time of waiting it isn't uncommon for people to experience a whole bunch of things they think are symptoms only to find out they weren't due to HIV because they don't have it.



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worried815
Member

Reged: 11/21/03
Posts: 12
Re: Scared and Alone - Receiving Oral Sex new
      #78620 - 11/21/03 11:09 PM

Thank you Jackie so much for your answer. I want so badly to believe you are right that there is NO risk from recieving oral sex. But what about those people who claim to have gotten HIV through receiving a blow job. Are we to just assume they are liars? Do we discount the risk because it is not "confirmed." And if those guys could be infected that way, why not by kissing, especially if you had a cut on your tongue (I have geographic tongue so sometime there are "denuded" spots on my tongue I dont know about)? I have asked Dr. Bob like 15 times about this and he won't reply. It makes me wonder if he is afraid he will scare me with his answer as it will be bad news. Who are you by the way Jackie, besides a siant for answering my question? What makes you so sure there is no risk? And if it is true there is no risk, why test again at all. I always find that strange. Dr. Bob will say you have "extremely low risk from insertive oral sex, write me back after your test to Woo-Hoo." He could save us a lot of anxiety by saying "forget about it, no need to be tested. Woo-hoo right now, and get on with your life." Also, what is with the "extremely low risk" phrase anyway. It is meaningless anyway, because everyone evaluates risk differently. I have asked Dr. Bob to clarify the meaning of "extremely low risk" but to no avail.

Anyway Jackie, thanks again for you answer. You are the first person that I have been able to have any kind of communication with about this.

Worried





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Jackie_Blue
Legend

Reged: 10/26/00
Posts: 2028
Re: Scared and Alone - Receiving Oral Sex new
      #78624 - 11/22/03 07:51 AM

Yeah, I know the CDC lists receiving as 'low risk' but like I said, they also never have had a confirmed case.

I think the reason it's even listed as a low risk and doctors tell you it's a low risk is because it's known as a theoritical risk. Meaning, it could happen. Somehow after 20 years of it not happening, I don't see it going to happen.

Yes, I've seen some stories about people becoming infected that way. But, hey, I could say my exposure was getting a cut from a sea shell. It wouldn't be true, but who's gonna be able to stop me from saying that on the internet. See my point. In my opinion, those people may have had other risk factors, or do not want to really admit to the risk factors they had.

As far as testing, I can see now that no matter what you are told, you are going to need to test for your peace of mind. Get your 13 week negative and then put this matter behind you.





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worried815
Member

Reged: 11/21/03
Posts: 12
Re: The power of anxiety new
      #78627 - 11/22/03 09:11 AM

Tonight (it is night in Asia), I tried to go to dinner and a movie with a colleague (who I cannot tell about this). I was feeling ok, and thought that I'd be fine. But I have hardly eaten all day, no appetite - I have been worried about that because until today my appetite has been fine. Well, when we got to the restaruant I could not find anything that looked appetizing, but ordered something anyway. I started worrying and feeling nausous, and by the time my food came I could not eat. I felt like i was going to throw-up, which made me more scared. I then got diahrea and had to go to the bathroom. I ended up skipping dinner and forcing down a smoothy. I kept trying to tell myself that it was all in my mind, that I was making myself sick, but kept feeling more sick. We had an hour to kill before the movie, so we walked around - with me feeling terrible and trying to hide it. Finally, I felt so nausous that I said I had to go home. I was convinced this was it, I was finally getting slammed with ARS. By the time I got home, I couldn't stand it, so I called a friend of mine on the mainland (at the rate of $1 per minute) and I broke down in tears. My friend said he had been exactly where I am, I am making myself sick, etc... And I started to feel so much better. The nausea started to dissappaite, and maybe I am not so sick after all. Maybe it was all in my head. Can anxiety really make you that sick. It just kinda slammed me out of nowhere. I had to fight the urge to vomit. Am I gonna be ok? I mean really, it was just kissing, a blow-job, and protected sex with a Japanese condom (the best in the world) and it did not break or slip. Please tell me it cant be HIV.




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Jackie_Blue
Legend

Reged: 10/26/00
Posts: 2028
Re: The power of anxiety new
      #78628 - 11/22/03 09:39 AM

'Can anxiety really make you that sick.' Yes it can.

It's amazing what stress can do to a person. I posted this a while back to someone else that was convinced they had HIV. They didn't.

Please don't discount what stress and anxiety can do to a person. I know from personal experience that they can cause all sorts of physical ailments. I suffered from everything from rashes, to not being able to regulate my body temp. I was either freezing and wearing 3 sweaters or wanted to strip off all my clothes and crawl in the freezer. I could go from both extremes in 10 minutes. I lost 20 lbs in 3 weeks. I couldn't get through the day without a morning and afternoon nap. I was going to bed at 8 at night. No fever during any of this. It turned out my body decided it was time I focused on some issues that I knew I had to deal with, but had kept putting off for over a year. It got my attention the only way it knew how. Being that I am HIV, my doctor ran just about every test in the book. MRI, CT Scans, Blood work, Blood Cultures, Urine Samples, etc., etc., etc. All my tests came back perfect. The only thing he found was my iron was a little high due to dehydration. I had to accept the fact that nothing was physically wrong with me. After starting Paxil, getting myself in counseling, resolving the issues I needed to, funny thing happen. The symptoms went completely away.




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Anonymous123
Unregistered

Re: Scared and Alone - Please help! new
      #78631 - 11/22/03 06:44 PM

I had a possible exposure a little over two years ago and I had every symptom in the book, even ones I thought were indicative(which i subsequently found out that their are no symptoms that are indicative of HIV) of HIV. Don't go by your symptoms to assess your HIV status. Everyone who comes to this board experiences sudden symptoms after their exposure which leads me to believe that the power of the mind is great. Anyways your risk is negligble. Most people would not recommend a test for you but since it will regain your sanity I would say go for it.



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