GET TESTED!

Question

Dear Doc ...

After one very risky incident (unprotected receptive anal), I have been living in fear and despair for the past six months, believing that I had almost all of the symptoms of HIV infection. I dropped out of several of my classes because I simply couldn't focus anymore. I stopped hanging out with friends and would sit at home alone dwelling on the big mistake I made and the massive consequences I would surely be facing in the years ahead.

Well, after hours and hours spent reading this forum, I screwed up the courage to go and get tested. Unfortunately, where I live, the wait for results is about 7 to 10 days. Needless to say, this was a period of complete agony.

Well, I just got the results and, after six months of total anguish, I learned that I am HIV-negative. (WOOHOO!)

I promised myself that whatever the result I would send an email to you ... to say thanks for who you are and for all you do AND to remind everyone who, like me, spends hours searching the archives of this forum and fretting about symptoms to simply GO AND GET TESTED.

You know, if my results had been different, it would have certainly been tough ... but it would not have been the end of the world. At least I would have known what I was facing and could have dealt with it.

So, the lesson to all readers is: stop fretting about symptoms and go and get tested. Knowledge is power!

Doc, this experience has taught me so much. I knew so little about HIV/AIDS before, I had so little compassion. All that has changed. For the rest of my life, I will be on a mission to make a difference for those living with HIV and AIDS and to do all I can to prevent the epidemic from spreading further.

Thanks again for who you are and for all you do.

As you say ... Be well! Stay Well!

~ David (Canada)

Answer

Hi Canadian David,

Great news! WOO-HOO! Eh? (Do you like my Canadian accent?)

Thanks for taking the time to write in and share your insights! I hope our readers in Worried-Well-Hell will heed your advice. GET TESTED! JUST DO IT! DO IT NOW! (as Jack Bauer would say). Thanks also for your willingness to use what you've learned during this ordeal to "pay it forward!"

Be well. Stay well.

Dr. Bob