Hey everyone. First, I want to say that I've really appreciated reading your posts for the last two weeks while waiting for confirmation...that and Ativan have helped immensely. I've not read any stories quite like mine here, though, and I'm reaching out for others to contact me and begin a friendship/support network.
Needless to say, I tested positive and got confirmation today. I'm only as calm about this as I am, because when I was in the hospital two weeks ago, I had a negative WB, but a positive viral load. So, I've had a couple weeks to get used to the idea. As most, I was hoping that it was a false positive, but that was not to be. It all started with me having a mild sore throat that became what felt like was the flu...body aches, fever, headache, neck pain, petechial rash. I ended up going where I can't stand...the ER. My white blood cells and my platelets were both low, so I knew I was sick. Of course, they tested me for everything. I had most recently tested for HIV in October, and was negative. When they told me there was chance that I was positive, I just remember the blood draining from my body and it was as if I was hearing everything through a tunnel. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. The doctor was all business and didn't pull any punches....haven't decided whether or not I like his bedside manner yet, or not. Anyway, the waves of panic have come and gone since then. I chose to start meds immediately, before I even know what my CD4 level is. I think they said viral load was 500k, but I'm not so sure because my head was still spinning. I kept thinking to myself "I'm a doctor myself, this isn't supposed to be happening to me." It definitely doesn't discriminate, though. I still have yet to figure out exactly how I contracted it, but I know that I had done a spinal tap on an HIV patient and, even though I took proper precautions, I kept thinking that at one point I felt something splash in my eye, but was never sure. I also had a patient that kept bleeding and I had to tend to him...it was an emergency, but I'm pretty sure I didn't get any blood on me and that the gloves didn't break (had a cut on my hand at that time), but I kept wondering, especially after finding out that he had HIV. I only had sexual contact with two friends in the time period where the doc said I had contracted it. Stupidly, neither was protected since I thought I could trust them (still beating myself up for that). I keep going back to the fact that I'm a doc and this isn't supposed to happen to me...I'm supposed to set an example...but, I'm human. Now, all the anxiety has set in as to whether I will still have a career left. Medicine was a "higher calling" for me and to lose it as soon as I've obtained my dream, would just kill me. Then I wonder, who will want me as their Doc if I have this? If you have a choice, due to the stigma, most people would prefer a negative doc over a positive one. Then, I can't get over feeling "toxic" and that what woman or man will ever want to touch me in a romantic way ever again? I had just found a girl that is the "girl of my dreams" (had never had sex with her yet), but I'm afraid that when I tell her, she'll be gone...and then I'll spend the rest of my life alone. I don't know...I'm just conflicted on the inside. I do know I'm rambling. I just want someone to talk to and someone who understands. I feel very alone right now, and very isolated since I can't really talk to any of my colleagues. Is there anyone else in a similar situation out there? I have to get over the guilt and get back to being "me". People are commenting at work that "You just aren't the same lately"....I'm hoping that part is temporary. My energy is taking a while to get back to normal and I'm still sneezing some...I worry anytime I see a sick patient that I'm going to automatically contract whatever they have. It's hard to be rational when it's your health. Please help me....the responses I read from you all really have given me hope so far. Thanks in advance. My love to all of you.