Depressed and anxious - 3rd post

Question

Dear dr bob, further to your assessment and medhelp I hv been trying to fool myself into all is well and move on but the symptoms jus keep coming up and become clear to the infection. I am not makig them up. I have been getting folliculitis on different areas one after another. Not in cluster though- perhaps it's a bit early for that. Hv developed dandruff out if nowhere. I scratch anywhere in the body and it become red.. My skin is not this sensitive. Have a boil in the gum for last 2 weeks. Hard White boil . My skin feels excessively dry. There is one thing about making the symptoms by Reading the Internet and another actually visibly experiencing it. Plus I can see all the umptoms my gf going through when she has no clue abt the potential event. In her case, none of the hings are stres related. With all this and the perfect timing of - relatively mild ARS symptoms, does your assessment change? I had the most wonderful life a month back and now I don't know where am I headed. I won't say I am suicidal but the price I am going to pay for a low risk terrible mistake seems unjust. I am extremely depressed and no one to turn to. Thanks in advance for replying.

Answer

Hello,

My assessment remains completely unchanged. I'm not denying your symptoms. I'm merely stating that HIV is not the cause.

I agree you are "extremely depressed." I strongly urge you to seek the help of a psychiatrist to help with this problem. Psychotherapy (counseling) and antidepressants can be very helpful.

Dr. Bob

Depressed and anxious - 3rd post Mar 8, 2010

Hi Doc,

I am extremely anxious and depressed. I had a protected sex with a sex worker for a very brief 2-3 mins and made a terrible mistake of touching the condom to see if the tip was intact.I later realised i had some minor skin cuts/peels on my thumb and index fingure which i might have used to touch the condom.this was a brief touch and i washed my hand with soap after that. My symptoms are the following: 2 weeks and 4 days later - joint aches and stiffness (of a very unsual nature - very very stiff) 2 weeks and 6 days later - mild flu and upset stomach.This led to a loss of apetite which lasted about 10 days.I have lost close to 3-4 kgs in this timeframe. I am extremely depressed, thinking that i am 100% sure these are due to hiv and i do not have the courage to get tested.i know this is terrible. I have read a lot of posting and my exposure perhaps is a low risk.But i cant imagine, that the symtoms can simply coincide in the same timeframe (2-3 weeks).i know stress could lead to loss of apetite but would it lead to such a stark loss of weight. Also, I have done CBC, ESR recently and they are fine. Can a CBC, ESR at a 3 month mark indicate abnormalities directing to HIV? Another reason why I am paranoid is coz I had unprotected sex with my gf week after my possible exposure and she started showin symptoms in 2 weeks time of fever (moderate) sore throat (5 days) dry cough and rashes (back) red bumps.. I can't get over the coincidence o the symptoms of this was a no exposure. Hope u understand. Pls reply. Wonder why my post is not being replied. I checked this situation on medhelp and the answer I got is " no risk". A I mentioned I am terrified to do the test. Pls pls reply.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Depressed and Anxious - 3rd Post,

You state that you wonder why your post is "not being replied." You also state you checked your situation on Medhelp and the answer you got back was "no risk." Hmm... Doesn't that give you the slightest clue as to why I haven't responded to your two previous posts?? I absolutely agree with the Medhelp assessment: "no risk!" So even though you are "100% sure" you are HIV infected, I'm 100% convinced the opposite is true.

Sadly you further state you do not have the courage to get tested. Consequently, I guess until you find the courage, we'll never know which one of us is correct.

To briefly respond to some of the points in your post:

  1. CBC and ESR tests give no specific information regarding HIV diagnosis.

  2. Yes, stress can cause your symptoms, including the weight loss.

  3. If your anxiety, guilt and depression persist, consider seeking professional help.

Do write back with your "WOO-HOO I'm negative" follow-up and I'll post it for our readers. In the interim, I'll post this question in our new archives category, "I'm Positive I'm Positive." It's filled with posts from HIV-negative folks like you who are trapped in their self-induced worried-well hell. Luckily most find their way out eventually. Hopefully you too will do so, sooner rather than later.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob