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Old 08-17-2004, 08:48 PM   #1
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Worried that I have HIV, please help.

Hello, I am new here. I discovered this forum by searching out phobias for HIV. I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks most commonly related to hypochondria. I have these periods of anxiety and stress usually 2 times a year and they last anywhere from 1-2 months. I didn't start developing these anxiety problems until I was about 22-23 (27 now) right after my daughter was born. I have always had a fear of HIV/AIDS ever since I learned of the seriousness of it (about 16). Here is the story as to why I am so terrified that I might have it and what I am even more scared about as it relates to other factors in my life. I have been with my wife now for almost 7 years (3 of which are married). She got pregnant in mid 2000 and gave birth in march of 2001. We didn't get married until Nov. 2001. Several months before the birth of my daughter and maybe (I can't clearly recall) a couple of months after the birth of my daughter before we got married I have a total of 3 sexual encounters. The first I know was when she was still pregnant. It was with a girl who people knew around the office was very premiscuous. It was brief, some oral, some protected intercourse, and shortly over, nothing more. The other two encounters were when I was out of town (could have been before or after the birth of my daughter, again I can't recall). One was with an ex-girlfriend. Again, protected, short intercourse, nothing too heavy or what you might call risky behavior. The last was with another female (one night stand) during that same trip. Again, very brief oral, short protected intercourse and then it was over. Since my fear of STD's and yet my strong sexual drive tend to battle each other, when the encounters were over, the severe guilt and fear set it. I always immediately cleaned my private area with soap thoroughly to help what I would think would be any additional body fluid contact. I know for sure that several months leading up to our marriage (11/19/01) and ever since I have not put myself in any kind of unfaithful situation again. I always told myself that I would never cheat once I was married and have held true to that. I have had two occasions where I could have cheated but turned it down. Now my wife gave birth and all blood work came back normal. We did have sex a couple of times during her pregnancy but cant remember the stages when that happened. She also gave blood at a donation drive in Aug. 2002 and got a letter back saying all was fine and thanks for the donation. My extreme fear that I have it comes from several factors. One of them is that even though she gave blood a year after any incident I was involved in outside of our relationship, my thinking is that even though we have always been heavily sexually involved even right after the birth of our daughter, maybe it didn't show up in her system as of yet or maybe I haven't even passed it on to her as of yet by the time she gave blood. Some things that have come up recently that are really affecting me and making my anxiety and panic attacks sever have been things like recently I noticed some minor nail pitting. Of course, because of my hypochondria I tend to research health issues to no end. I know I have eczema and have passed that on to my daughter. They say that nail pitting can be caused by several things including eczema but worries me is it is also caused by psoriasis. Doing my research I found that nail pitting can be the first signs of psoriasis and that HIV can cause psoriasis to appear for the first time ever. I went to a dermatologist and she said that she sees no signs of any of the things that I am worried about including psoriasis. As I look at the symptoms of the established stage of HIV I see things that I might possibly be experiencing like diarrhea (which I have had for a long time due possible IBS) which comes and goes, I also don't eat as well as I should and that could possibly be a contributing factor, also confusion (the most recent example of this is the other day I was trying to type in *****.com but found myself typing in webmtv.com instead). Could this be an example of the confusion they are talking about? Another is dry skin. not extreme by any means but at times definitely noticeable at times (possibly due to eczema?). Loss of appetite, although I have only noticed this since my anxiety started and also due to the anxiety drug I was prescribed the other day called Clonazepam. Tingling, numbness, and weakness in the limbs has been a hard one to deal with and describe. Say for instance if I am using my mouse for an extended period of time, or laying on my hand for a while, then start to notice the tingling effect afterwards I will automatically think it is attributed to HIV. When they say Tingling, numbness, and weakness as it is associated with HIV do they mean that it just happens out of no where and not just because the nerves are compressed? My lymph nodes never get swollen unless it is allergy season where with each passing year I tend to be affected more and more. I am 6-4" 275 lbs and have pretty much maintained this weight, if not gained, over the past 4+ years. There are other small things that I tend to freak out about but not really worth mentioning. After doing more research about anxiety and panic disorders I have learned that a lof of the symptoms that I am having are also associated with it, which provides some comfort but does not really put my mind at ease because of the inevitable "what if". Because we have a daughter there tends to be more colds and bugs in the house but what is weird is that I never get sick where as my wife and my daughter will be affected. The last time that I got sick was several years ago and it was like the flu. I can't remember the actual date or time but when I think about it it reminds me that it could have possibly been ARS. If I ever get a cut or a sore it tends to heal up pretty quick and normal, not sure if that means anything. My biggest fears and what I panic and worry the most about is that I have it, I passed it on to my incicent wife, and that I won't be able to live out my life to see my daughter grow up and enjoy all of the things that one should experience in life. I have seen doctors and they assure me that I don't have it, I have talked to preists and they have provided some comfort, but the pain remains. I am working up the nerve to go get tested but to relate it to you in a way that you might understand is like saying someone that is deathly afraid of heights and then they go sky diving. I would really love to hear from any of you that could help me put things into perspective because with my anxiety and panic issues I cannot do that on my own. What other signs would I have or possibly be in danger of having if I do have the disease? I know this is extremely long, but I really need to be a part of a community where I can get this off of my chest and hear from those who share the same concerns or those that can help guide me or give me their take on what they think. Thank you to all who took the time to read this and please respond with your input.

God Bless,

-S

Last edited by smpm2; 08-22-2004 at 10:11 PM.

 
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Old 08-17-2004, 09:16 PM   #2
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Re: Worried that I have HIV, please help.

First of all I'd like to tell you to relax. Chances are you do not have HIV. It sounds a lot like an axiety disorder (as you stated). My opinion is you need to look at the situation and figure out what may be intensifying this axiety. I read over your story and I don't remember you saying anything about ever telling your wife about these other sexual encounters. Now if you never told her then that might be your problem. Some times we do regretful things that may hurt some one we love and we get scared and hide them in the back of our minds. The guilt never goes away and can just get more and more intense without our obvious knowledge. Maybe you're feeling guilty and it has you thinking beyond just how bad your actions may hurt your family.

I don't think you have HIV. That doesn't sound like your problem at all. All the symptoms you stated you even put your own logical reasons for. (like anxiety) Anxiety can cause numbness and tingling in certain parts of the body. I think you are feeling guilty for what you've done and you are thinking of some serious consequenses.

I can give you a few things for advice. First is learn ways to control your anxiety. If your not on meds get on them. If you're on meds and they aren't working call your dr and get on better meds. The first thing you need to do is calm your anxiety because you won't feel better at al until you do.
Next you should get the HIV test done. Don't be afraid to do it. Waiting to get it done or not getting tested at all is NOT GOING TO CHANGE THE RESULTS. ( a little note- the time it takes after the test to find out the results is going to drive you nuts, you'll probably come up with a million more symptoms related to HIV just in that time period--- believe me we've all been there) Like I said though I don't think HIV is your problem.
Also I think if you haven't already you should talk to your wife. She will forgive you. Especially if she can sense the axiety and stress this has caused you (as a woman I know we have that special power). If she already knows then maybe you can seek counseling. Maybe you need to find a way to forgive yourself.

As you know no one in here can solve your problems and tell you your HIV status. I gave you my opinions and hopeful I've been helpful. Go and get tested though. I hope every thing goes okay and I wish you the best of luck.

 
Old 08-17-2004, 09:29 PM   #3
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Re: Worried that I have HIV, please help.

I think you are exactly right about the guilt issue. I have never endured more emotional pain then this because of what I have done. After talking to a preist and asking him if I should come clean with my wife he and the faith suggested that I not. We weren't married and at this point in the relationship it would do more harm then good. One question that I do have is because the birth of our daughter was fine and her blood donation about a year later came back fine what could that mean? Is it possible to not give your partner the HIV virus until years after you have it? Don't you think it would have shown up in her by then? Truly I am more worried for her than myself. She knows of my fear and has been supportive but I am still goiing nuts. I feel healthy but all of these little things really drive me to think that we are going to die.

Thanks again,
-S

 
Old 08-18-2004, 04:40 AM   #4
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Re: Worried that I have HIV, please help.

I totally understand the anxiety thing, I suffer from it myself. For a long time I convinced myself that I had HIV. One thing about you said was that you had "protected" sex. Well, it would be difficult to contract HIV from someone that way. Your chances are something like 1/5000. Oral sex is considered low risk. Just by reading your story I would be willing to bet that you are completely fine. I know it is hard to go get tested but after it is all said and done you can relax! I just went 3 weeks ago. It was very hard and yes the anxiety was horrible. It was negative (as Im sure you will be) but oh my god, the relief now that I dont have to think about it anymore. There's no more wondering if an ache or pain (or skin irritation) is somehow HIV. Im telling you, just go get tested and you will be soooooooo happy afterwards that you did it and will finally be able to stop the insanity. Do you have someone that could go with you and be there for you to call when you are having a panic attack? There are some places that have results in 24 hours (some 20 minutes), you will pay like 150$ but if it is worth it to you so that you dont have the typical 1-2 week wait. You can search online for a clinic in your area. I know this makes you more nervous, but I swear...it's worth it.

 
Old 08-18-2004, 06:03 AM   #5
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Re: Worried that I have HIV, please help.

When I go through these problems I tend to go see multiple doctors to get opinions on what they think is going on with m. The last doctor said that I should just get tested and don't worry about it because he doesn't think that I have it at all. The test would be easy and covered by my insurance but the only scary thing is that I go in the morning, the lab is right there, and if you are positive they call you right away even if it is two in the morning. I would be up all freaking night on the verge of insanity, and God forbid if someone else were to call late just to say hi. I would have a heart attack. I am going to take the test, I just need to prepare myself and pick a good time. I would really like for someone to address my question about exposure to my wife and what I have said so far, does it seem like she is HIV free? I mean she gave blood a year after any incident would have taken place and the paperwork came back fine. But again, is it possible that maybe I have it and haven't passed it on to her yet?

-S

 
Old 08-18-2004, 06:37 AM   #6
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Re: Worried that I have HIV, please help.

Hi, i agree with the poster that talked about GUILT, i think the guilt is killing you. I was in a simmilar situation where i ended up having to tell my significant other of what i had done. He didnt leave me, BUT it made trust become as issue. We have worked through things now. Regarding your HIV/AIDS scare, all i can say is that after it being almost 4 years, YOU ARE FINE. The incubation period for the disease is no longer 3 yeras due to modern technology it can be read after 6 weeks. I think you fine, NO, actually i know you are fine. Writting on this board may only comfort your soul temporarily, Seeking some councelling and also getting retested every 3 months may make you feel better. In Health, 2 Negatives do not equal a Positive, 2 Negatives mean you dont have Aids. Talk to someone like a Doctor or Counceling. I think your okay, they would have already found the Virus in you by now and most importantly in your wife when she gave blood.

 
Old 08-18-2004, 06:51 AM   #7
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Re: Worried that I have HIV, please help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smpm2
When I go through these problems I tend to go see multiple doctors to get opinions on what they think is going on with m. The last doctor said that I should just get tested and don't worry about it because he doesn't think that I have it at all. The test would be easy and covered by my insurance but the only scary thing is that I go in the morning, the lab is right there, and if you are positive they call you right away even if it is two in the morning. I would be up all freaking night on the verge of insanity, and God forbid if someone else were to call late just to say hi. I would have a heart attack. I am going to take the test, I just need to prepare myself and pick a good time. I would really like for someone to address my question about exposure to my wife and what I have said so far, does it seem like she is HIV free? I mean she gave blood a year after any incident would have taken place and the paperwork came back fine. But again, is it possible that maybe I have it and haven't passed it on to her yet?

-S
I guess it is possible that you could have it and not her but thats a very small chance. This was 3 years ago or so?? I would think that if you had it then she would by now. You do understand that the chances are that you don't have it, right? Please go get tested as soon as possible so you can stop worrying. OK I have a thought but lets see if I can word it correctly... You are thinking that maybe you have HIV and that your wife just didn't contract it from you after a year, well then what do you think the chances are that you contracted it from a one time "protected" sexual encounter? I know you said there were 3 different times but they were protected. First of all for you to catch HIV from someone that person has to have it to begin with. The chances are that these 3 woman didn't even have HIV. If they did, and you had "unprotected" sex with them theres a 1/300 chance you could get it. HIV is a hard virus to get believe it or not. If I were you, I would go get tested now and get it over with. The sooner you do the sooner you can move on.

 
Old 08-18-2004, 06:55 AM   #8
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Re: Worried that I have HIV, please help.

Thank you all for replying. It does give me a great sense of releif to actually be able to talk with others about this instead of bottling it up inside. I am going to get tested, but it is like facing my worst fear, so I want to be mentally prepared and make sure the time is right for me. One question that I do have is has anyone else ever experienced the pitting of the nails that I have. What did you find out about it? I went to the dermatologist and she could not specifically relate it to any one disorder but says that it also happens on it's own freakishly. Thanks again.

-S

 
Old 08-18-2004, 10:28 AM   #9
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Now I am kind of officially freaked out

I noticed today that the lymph node on the right side of my throat is bigger than ususal. I took my tempature and it is reading low to high 99. I mad an appointment tomorrow to go get tested. But this is really freaking me out. I know that lately I have had some mild allergies with sneezing, congestion and such. Should I be worried about the new onset or could it be normal?

-S

 
Old 08-18-2004, 10:55 AM   #10
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Re: Worried that I have HIV, please help.

Every body needs to understand that lymph nodes don't just get swollen because of HIV. I've read a lot of posts where people are freaking out because of swollen lymph nodes. First of all with HIV the swollen lymph nodes would be generalized. (more than 2-3) There are lymph nodes through out the whole entire body. They can swell even when you feel healthy. For example you may get a virus (like the flu or something) and it be so mild that you don't have any symptoms except swollen lymph nodes. That's because the node swells in fighting the virus. With HIV it wouldn't just be one lymph node in the neck because this is a virus that attacks the whole body most likely you're going to get swollen lymph nodes all over (groin, armpits, front side and back of neck.) So don't go thinking it's HIV just because you have a swollen lymph node or two.

Also as far as your wife and her donating blood etc..... It is possible to carry the virus and not infect your significant other. There are couples out there where one in infected and the other isn't. The HIV virus is tricky. A lot of factors contribute to how fast and how easy the virus is transmitted. It has to be the right time, high enough viral load, right amount of bodily fluids and right amount of virus in the fluids. Then enough of the fluids with enough of the virus has to get into your blood stream. This is why they say it is harder for a man to contract the virus from women. IT'S NOT IMPOSSIBLE JUST HARDER. If there are no open sores or cuts on the penis then the womans vaginal secretions have to enter the urethra and travel into your blood stream. The virus is more consentrated in blood then it is in semenal or vaginal fluids so more of these fluids would have to be exchanged for infection then if it were direct contact with blood. But all this doesn't matter in your case because like I said you probably aren't infected. As I said before it is harder for a male to contract the virus from female therefore your chances of infection from your previous encounters are very low if these women were even infected in the first place. The fact that you were wearing protection brings the chances even lower. I feel very confident in saying by the information you have provide that YOU ARE NOT INFECTED WITH THE HIV VIRUS. So, feel strong, get the test so you can relax, take your negative results, give your wife and child a big kiss and hug, and never look back!!!!!

 
Old 08-18-2004, 10:23 PM   #11
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Very worried as the deadline approaches

It is now 1:19am and I awoke with a night sweat. I have never had something like this before. What could this mean? Everywhere I look it always says that night sweats are caused by HIV. Please help me, I a going insane and I don't understand why so many things physically are contradicting to me!

-S

 
Old 08-18-2004, 10:41 PM   #12
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Re: Worried that I have HIV, please help.

you are probably having an anxiety attack. you need to breathe deep and try alternating clenching your fists--right then left, right then left and do the same with your feet on a floor. this is a great anxiety relief. i read your story and i have to say that i seriously doubt that you have HIV. if HIV was that easy to get i think many many many more people would be diagnosed. why don't you call the hot line number that i provided in the sticky note? if you read through here you will find sooooooooooo many people having the same mental distress. you are not alone. try to realize that your mind is creating these symptoms and try to quiet your mind with relaxing music or a walk out side. it is late here and i have a terrible cold or i would write more to you to help. you will make it through this....it is mind over matter.

you do need to take comfort in your family and know that you do have a good life. be happy about that. you seem to be harboring a lot of guilt but i think after you get tested you will be able to let all of that go. good luck- i wish you well.
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Old 08-19-2004, 12:18 AM   #13
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Re: Worried that I have HIV, please help.

Personally, it sounds to me that you are looking way to far into it. I am not discounting that unprotected sex won't possibly lead to contracting HIV, however, a pretty small precent of the population is actually infected and even then, it is not like if you just touch an infected person, you contract HIV. I am no doctor, but have even read in medical journals how it is much harder for a man to contract HIV than women. You mentioned 3 encounters, all of which protection was used. Right there, your chances are very slim due to proper use of condoms. However, the only way to truly know is to go and take a test. Being that your wife has been tested recently, and was all clear, I would say your chance of being positive is about 1 in a million but to clear your fear, take the test.
Good Luck...
Jason

 
Old 08-19-2004, 05:18 AM   #14
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Re: Worried that I have HIV, please help.

Thanks again for the comfort. I just found it strangely odd that I would have a night sweat like that and because of the clonazepam that I am taking for anxiety I didn't notice any panic attack at all. I am not sure what people say when it is a true night sweat and the bed is soaked. Well the bed and sheets were not wet but my shirt from the upper chest and above to the top of my neck was pretty soaked definitely to the point where I noticed it. I never have had a sweat like this at night and when you research night sweats on the net all you ever hear about is HIV,HIV,HIV! Beleive me folks, I am taking the right steps to seeking help by getting tested (today ) and seeking therapy, but in the interim I only have this forum to get things out in the open. If you get a chance today please say a prayer for me and for all who suffer from anxiety and HIV/AIDS.

-S

Last edited by smpm2; 08-19-2004 at 05:19 AM.

 
Old 08-19-2004, 12:07 PM   #15
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Re: Worried that I have HIV, please help.

Well, I went and got tested this morning. Now it will be the horrible wait ahead of me. They test there at the lab and usually know the results by midnight to 2am. If you do test positive then the doctor on call will call you immediately upon testing positive so that will keep me up all night for sure. I am still kind of freaked out about last nights night sweat. Hope all goes well, thank you for all of your support. Getting tested means that I have finally faced one of my biggest fears which I am proud of but still scared until the test results come back. I don't know what I will do if it is positive. Please pray and thanks again for the encouragement.

-S

 
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