Hi Dr. Bob. Hi all!
Woo Hoo and another Hoo! And a short explanation follows:
More than a year ago I met my boyfriend. My first gay relationship (we'll see if it will remain the only one). It was all nice, but I was hiding from almost everyone. You know the result - guilt, fear, anxiety... And, as I suffer from extreme health anxiety (although it has not been diagnosed by anyone but my surgeon uncle), I started fearing HIV. I made my boyfriend get tested. He did (although he wasn't happy about me not trusting him... but I mean - come on, the START of a relationship, it's only fair!). His result was negative. That was October. By December I was, again, starting to fear, so I got tested on December 1st (we all know and, hopefully, respect that date). My result was negative. My relationship went on, nice and fun, but hiding from family and friends and lying to them. Eventually, it turned out that we were not meant to be. The relationship ended this past September, almost an exact year after it started. To this day I feel sad and a little angry I had to break it off, but we were too different. That sadness and anger were just a nice little addition to my constant worrying - we fought a lot at the end, and that's when we tried anal sex a couple of times... no condom! What IF? What if his test was unreliable? What if he had lied to me? What IF, what IF??? I finally talked to my dad, yesterday, and he told me "See, even if it comes out positive... we'll just learn how to live according to the diagnosis, and will try to make everything go on as before! Go and DO IT! Fighting the unknown is much harder than fighting a fact!" So this morning I did it. I went to a lab, they took the blood... and, although it may sound weird, you can check the results online (yeah, my country's a little strange in respect of stress, mental health and the such, nobody really thinks you'd need a psychologist if you find out you're positive). I just checked my results, and they are negative! WOO HOO! (and the second HOO is for my test in December).
Now, I, as many others have done, would like to list the SYMPTOMS (or, more precisely, things I THOUGHT were symptoms) for those who do the infamous symptom-fishing as I did:
white tongue, rashes, fever, recurring sinus infections, gastritis (I don't think it's one of the 'official' ones, but I contributed it to HIV nonetheless), palmar warts (likewise), dry skin, constant swollen tonsils and postnasal drip, white discharcge in throat, tonsilloliths, shotty lymph nodes (especially in my neck), mild pain in nodes, stomach aches, loose stools, flatulence, ingrown hairs, strange pimples, cold sores, headaches, floaters (yes, I DESPISE THEM to this day, but at least I no longer pay any attention), other eye problems such as trouble focusing (ok, so I am getting old, just turned 25), strange pain in the groin area, bronchitis, flu, colds...
There may be others (that I have missed in my list), but that's a terribly long list for a year, isn't it? And what do they indicate? OBVIOUSLY, what many others here have stated so far: it's all stress, anxiety, worries, and your mind. Oh, and every now and then - the flu, a cold, bronchitis, sinus infections and gastritis even - they all exist, many people get them, and they are totally not indicative of HIV. I also found, that constant fear and anxiety really diminsh your immune system. Yes, fear weakens us all.
I used to frequent this forum, but then I made myself stop reading ANYTHING about any disease - even about the common cold. Because "cyberchondria" is really not what I need, I am too busy. I had, until recently, almost stopped worrying, but last week some weird acute gastritis brought the fear back. So I decided to end it, once and for all. All I needed is someone to confide in, and that was that.
So thanks and good luck to everyone here, and most of all - thank you, Dr. Frascino, you are a devoted person who makes this world a much better and brighter place.
I live in Europe, but I will do everything in my power to donate to your foundation, and to help foundations and organizations in my area. They need it, just like I needed help, reassurance, and a shoulder.
WooHoo and lots of love to you all!
Thanks for taking the time to write in and share your story and your good news. WOO-HOO! Thanks also for your donation (www.concertedeffort.org).
Be well. Stay well.