First I'd like to thank you for all that you do. The relief and humor you provide in this forum has helped me through some tough times and is greatly appreciated. I'm sending you my second donation.
Now I'd like to provide some hope to all the "Worried Wells" out there. About three years ago I had a one night stand with a girl. The sex was protected, but I went down on her without protection. The next morning she said she thought her period was starting. Well, I had a little cut in my mouth and of course I started freaking out (it was at this time that I stumbled across this forum). I got tested immediately abd at 6.5 weeks. Both were negative. As we know, 6.5 weeks isn't conclusive, but it calmed me down quite a bit and I didn't get the 12 week test. So there was still this question in the back of my mind.
About a year and several completely safe sexual encounters later, I went down unprotected on another woman that I didn't know. I started worrying again, and started reading this forum again, but I didn't get tested.
A couple months later I started dating a woman and we dated for 10 months. We started having sex about a month into it and there were a couple unprotected episodes at first. This is when things got bad for me mentally. About a month later I got the worst sore throat of my life (they tested for strep and that came back negative, which added to the worry)and my back and neck hurt terribly. Then I got extremely bad mouth ulcers that wouldn't go away.
I was convinced that I had acquired HIV and worried myself sick, sometimes literally. I was afraid to get tested. However, the longer we dated and the more I read this forum, the less worried I became. Eventually the relationship ended and that was that. I wasn't worrying and I hadn't been tested.
Then something happened. About a month ago I was drinking with and old friend and we started going at it. We did anal and the condom broke and all of the worries came flooding back. Now I had two episodes of unprotected oral sex, a few episodes of unprotected vaginal sex and one episode of unprotected anal sex on my resume and no conclusive testing.
My friend from the anal incident went and got tested and came back clean, but I couldn't stop worrying about the stuff from before. I became compeletely paranoid and afraid. I started thinking about how I would break the news to my family and friends, all the ways that my life would fundamentally change, etc. Finally I decided that I had to go and get tested or else I was going to go completely insane. It took a few days to get the result back and during that time my paranoia reached an all-time high. I started seeing things as "omens" of infection, such as one day when I turned on the TV and the first thing was a story about how Magic Johnson was living with HIV or I would open the newspaper and there would be a story about HIV or AIDS staring me in the face. I became afraid to use the word "positive." I also started to wonder why the results were taking so long. The doctor said it would take 3 or 4 days (I went for a full physical and had other tests done as well) and it was taking longer. Did the ELISA come back positive? Were they having to do a Western Blot? I was a wreck.
Well, yesterday I got a the call and everything is fine. No HIV or any other STD. For almost three years I worried to one degree or another about this and I know that the reason has to do with guilt. I know better than to do each of those things that exposed me. I can't tell you how good I feel today. With all that worry gone my brain doesn't know what to do with itself. The worry was always there to keep me occupied. I feel happier and I literally feel lighter on my feet.
So in closing, I would like to again thank you Dr. Bob and give this message to the Worried Wells: GET TESTED!!!!! As Dr. Bob says, the odds are astronomically in your favor. Your "symptoms" are being caused by something else. Your lives will improve expoentially once you get that call saying you're negative.
Oh yeah, one more thing. There was one good omen while I was waiting for my results. I was out at the Oakland Airport and there is a full-size billboard there that says "WOO HOO." So, WOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
WOO-HOO! and congratulations (three years belated, but better late than never).
I saw that WOO-HOO billboard at the Oakland Airport! I immediately thought of all the folks who ultimately found the courage to get tested, despite their self-inflicted worried-well hell, and subsequently wrote back to me with their happy WOO-HOO testimonials. And I smiled. I'll now add your story to the logarithmically expanding X-Files (ex-worried wells).
Thanks for your tax-deductible donation to the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation. On behalf of all the folks who will be touched by your generosity, please accept my heartfelt thanks.
Be well. Stay well.