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Old 02-16-2012, 01:29 PM   #1
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NEARLY EVERY ARS SYMPTOM IN THE BOOK! A love letter to all the worried wells...

This letter goes to all of you worried wells out there frantically googling your symptoms. I know who you are. I am one of you. Or at least I was, until Tuesday.

I had unprotected sex with a friend five times three months ago. He's a good friend - I've known him for 17 years. We slept together (always protected) 16years ago and it was always fun.

We kept in touch over the years and last year we found ourselves both single again and living in different cities. After a few months of phone flirting, he came to visit.

We didn’t use protection, obviously. Why? Because I am a freaking IDIOT. Because I love him as a friend, and I trusted him. I would never expose a friend to the disease, and I assumed my friend would treat me the same way. I am naÔve. Well, maybe not naÔve exactly, but I like to be swept away, and it’s hard to be swept away when you have to pause, stop panting, turn on the light and put a piece of sticky latex between you.

It was a lovely weekend, but a couple of weeks later, things started to happen.

I got a headache - a bad headache - and a sore throat. My neck was stiff and achy. There were fevers and chills. These all persisted.

I googled my symptoms. It wasn’t good. I mean REALLY not good. HIV kept coming up.

The timeline was right on. My symptoms had started right after the two week mark. I started to have a very uneasy feeling.

After doing research for a few days and not feeling any better, I called my friend in a semi-panic. He assured me he had had a CBC a couple of months before and everything was fine.

I slept fine for a couple of nights and then googled whether HIV comes up on a CBC. It doesn’t.

I tried to reassure myself that this was a person I trusted, that he would never do this to me. Then a little voice would whisper in my ear: What if he doesn’t know he has it? Some people don’t get symptoms when they’re infected. SOME PEOPLE DON’T SHOW SYMPTOMS FOR YEARS.

But I WAS showing symptoms, so I tried to convince myself they weren't the important, defining ones. For example, I didnt have swollen glands all over, and most people get swollen glands because the body is trying to fight off the virus.

Within two days I got stabbing pains in the lymph nodes under my jaw and behind my ear. The ones in my armpit and groin burned and swelled. I woke up in a cold sweat that night and sat straight up in bed. Generalized lymphadenopathy is one of the hallmarks of HIV infection. Not to mention night sweats.

At this point I was very, very scared. I started getting hot and cold flashes all the time. My skin felt funny. I had weird pin***** sensations that I never had before. I googled this. It’s called neuropathy, and it’s a symptom, too (of course), although less common – only about 12%of people with acute HIV get it.

I googled "HIV and persistent headaches" (by this time I had had a headache for six weeks) and the first thing that came up was a study on persistent headaches among people going through seroconversion. When I read that, my whole body went hot.

Every weird sensation I had was a symptom of primary HIV infection. Every one.

By six weeks after exposure I was spending almost all of my free time on the internet. I was compulsively googling my symptoms, reading blogs and medical websites and sites specifically for people with HIV. I was looking for reassurance that what I was experiencing was different somehow than what people with primary HIV experience, but it wasn’t working. It was just sounding more and more like me, all the time. To compound things even further my friend had suddenly stopped calling me, telling me lame excuses that he was busy or had “family stuff” going on. I decided he knew he had HIV the whole time and now that I had gotten sick was distancing himself. I started to hate him. I started to prepare what I would say when I called him to tell him I was positive.

I almost called and told him I was positive on a bluff, just to see if he would break down and admit it.

My only condolences at this point were that I wasn’t promiscuous (although what difference did that make when my friend probably was? how else do you learn all that stuff?) and that there were still a few specific symptoms I didn’t have. I didn’t have the rash, which I had read a majority of people get. And I didn’t have mouth sores, or thrush.

I got a bumpy rash on my back and a dry, flaky rash on my chin a few days later. My face is never dry. According to the internet it was seborrheic dermatitis, which is most common in people with lowered immunity. In fact, 85% of people with HIV get it.

And then I got a couple of canker sores.

And a white tongue - thrush.

Yes.

At this point I had nearly every single symptom in the book and I KNEW - ABSOLUTELY KNEW 100% - that I was positive, so getting tested was basically pointless. I considered how I was going to tell my family, and when. I confessed to a friend what was going on.

“Jesus Christ, go get tested!” he pleaded. “You’re killing yourself. You’re driving yourself crazy!”

“But I’m too scared. I only want to know if it’s negative,” I cried. “And I don’t think it is.”

“Why not?”

“Because I have all the symptoms,” I said. “My friend’s been with a ton of people. The timing is perfect. I have it.”

By two months out I was in a constant state of hand-shaking panic. HIV was all I could think about, morning, noon and night. I thought about how my life was going to change, how I was going to be faced with new doctors, and infections, and drugs for the rest of my now-much-shorter life. How I wanted support from my family and friends, but that if I told them, they would tell everyone, and I would be a pariah. How this was all, completely, totally, my fault.

So I waited. I didn’t want to face the facts. I just wanted my symptoms to go away, so I could be in the asymptomatic period (maybe for ten years!) and be in denial for a while. Maybe ignorance is bliss, I told myself. But I couldn’t sleep. Every time I tried to take my mind off of it, I felt pain – in my head, in my mouth, in my lymph nodes. It wouldn't leave me alone.

I started drinking more, and taking sleeping pills, and spending too much time taking showers and baths, trying to wash it all away. Nothing worked.

Eventually I decided I just wanted to feel better. I couldn’t live in pain anymore. I had read that a lot of people had had good experiences with Atripla, which brought their viral levels to an undetectable level. I decided that that’s what I wanted. I wanted to start treatment. It was time to face the music.

I went to the health department's HIV clinic. There’s a free test if you want to wait a week for your results, but for $25 they can give you your results in 15 minutes. I paid $25.

A guy *****ed my finger and sent me to the waiting room, where I sat with my head in clammy hands as the receptionists talked and giggled about their husbands. Fifteen minutes later, he called my name and I looked up. His face was completely, utterly blank. I followed him into the room and he turned around and looked at me.

He smiled. "It's negative," he said. NEGATIVE.

I started to cry. Tears streamed down my face. I had been so sure. I had had so many symptoms.

And I’m three months past exposure now, so it’s conclusive.

“The mind is a powerful thing," he said. "Now that you’re negative, your symptoms will probably all go away….”

AMEN.

LESSONS LEARNED:

1. Don't waste your life. You can literally make yourself sick worrying - I did. Just get tested. It will probably be negative. If it is, you will be so relieved. If it isn’t, you will be better for it, and you will be on the road to feeling better.

2. Protect yourself, every time. I will NEVER EVER put myself through this hell again...

Last edited by Mod-S4; 02-26-2012 at 12:22 PM. Reason: Unnecessary info and text from other sources deleted.

 
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Old 02-16-2012, 04:21 PM   #2
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Re: NEARLY EVERY ARS SYMPTOM IN THE BOOK! A love letter to all the worried wells...

You are awesome! I feel the same way! I have every symptom in the world! I am waiting for my results and I am freaking slightly over it. But I'm so glad I'm not alone!

 
Old 02-16-2012, 05:21 PM   #3
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Re: NEARLY EVERY ARS SYMPTOM IN THE BOOK! A love letter to all the worried wells...

Probably the best piece I have read on this forum so far. Like you I went through most of the symptoms yet tested negative at 1 month and 5 months mark. I was so paranoid that I had gone to two different labs in the same week just in case I don't end up doubting a single test result being a false one which however was completely unnecessary. I kept on reading every posts on the forum but remained silent and thanked God when anyone came back to share the joy with a negative result. While reading through yours, I felt the connection regarding what you were going through all these months and I am sure I am not alone. Congratulations and God bless !

 
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Old 02-16-2012, 06:10 PM   #4
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Re: NEARLY EVERY ARS SYMPTOM IN THE BOOK! A love letter to all the worried wells...

it is not suprising that alot of people go thru the same exact thing.
the symptoms of a hiv infection mimic alot of bacterial and viral infections.
some of these infections are very hard to pinpoint and
can take a long time to figure out,hiv is not one of those things.

i got hiv from someone i loved,
it wasn't like i was living any kind of risky lifestyle
but it still found a way to get to me.
all i can really say to you is if you learned anything from this
it is to think about these things before you are with someone
and not after, because you can never take it back if it ever does happen.
good luck

 
Old 02-17-2012, 03:33 AM   #5
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Re: NEARLY EVERY ARS SYMPTOM IN THE BOOK! A love letter to all the worried wells...

hello there im happy for you.. i had unprotected sex with a friend a month ago and i am going through exactly same situation right now.. from symptoms to how to tell my family, friends drifting away and all the crazy thought.. my symptoms are just too real everything you said above i even tried to tell my partner that i was positive just to check on her.. i even cut few plans thinking i wont be there for it like starting a family or graduating.. right now im going through hell your thread kinda made me happy.. i wish i was as lucky as you my friend..waiting for my test.. 1 month 15 days to go..

Last edited by Jiggy12; 02-17-2012 at 04:09 AM.

 
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Old 02-17-2012, 03:34 AM   #6
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Re: NEARLY EVERY ARS SYMPTOM IN THE BOOK! A love letter to all the worried wells...

right now im so convinced i have hiv.. your thread gave me a lil hope thank you

Last edited by Jiggy12; 02-17-2012 at 03:35 AM.

 
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Old 02-17-2012, 05:52 AM   #7
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Re: NEARLY EVERY ARS SYMPTOM IN THE BOOK! A love letter to all the worried wells...

Hey jiggy!
We are in the same boat! Don't worry too much. Stress is a killer! It amplifies the symptoms and as smit said, hiv mimics viral and bacterial infections, and stress mimics hiv symptoms.
But I am making this experience a lesson (whether positive or negative) to ALWAYS use protection. It's not worth the stress.
Good luck to you

 
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:19 AM   #8
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Re: NEARLY EVERY ARS SYMPTOM IN THE BOOK! A love letter to all the worried wells...

Thanks to everyone for the continuing words of kindness and support. If it weren't for this forum and reading stories similar to mine I'm not sure I could have gathered the courage to be tested.

Good luck to everyone and best wishes on being (and staying) HIV-free.

 
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:29 AM   #9
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Re: NEARLY EVERY ARS SYMPTOM IN THE BOOK! A love letter to all the worried wells...

Hi Jiggy,

I can tell how stressed you are about this and want you to know how much I sympathize! It seems like you are waiting for the 3 month mark to be tested, but I would go at 6 weeks. The results are 99% accurate at six weeks I believe. Get it over with! You will be glad you did.

 
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:47 AM   #10
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Re: NEARLY EVERY ARS SYMPTOM IN THE BOOK! A love letter to all the worried wells...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jiggy12 View Post
right now im so convinced i have hiv.. your thread gave me a lil hope thank you
here is where you need to slow down and step back and think about the basics...
you cannot diagnose yourself as having hiv,it is impossible to do
if you think you have this amazing ability that nobody else has
to do this,you need help of a different nature!

the symptoms of hiv mimics many things and there is NO WAY
you can determine it on your own.
to sit there and plan your life off how you are feeling is

i thought/felt that exact same way when i got hiv and you want to know something?
i was wrong.....

 
Old 02-17-2012, 07:03 PM   #11
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Re: NEARLY EVERY ARS SYMPTOM IN THE BOOK! A love letter to all the worried wells...

Thank you Very much for sharing your story. I did exactly the same thing you did being depressed and getting really crazy with everything to say the least & was negative at 45 days. I just ordered an oraquick oral test, this will now be more than 5 months post exposure. I hope it stays negative please wish me luck. Then hopefully i will be negative for a 100% conclusive test. Special thanks to kevin, smit, apollo, Cape & to all the others that answered my questions and dealing with my crazyness. I will post my results at the end of the month please wish me luck, thank you!

 
Old 02-17-2012, 09:00 PM   #12
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Re: NEARLY EVERY ARS SYMPTOM IN THE BOOK! A love letter to all the worried wells...

thank you everyone for your kind words.
ill keep you guys updated till the end .i live in a small town the 4th gen is not available..so no choice but to wait.. @gloomysunday i pray for you hope everything goes well.no one should ever go through what we are going through right now. i will keep in touch with you through this forum waiting to hear from you. @tryingtobezen i am really happy for you and glad you wrote your experience..and thank you smiteler i wish you a long healthy life..thank you everyone

 
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Old 02-18-2012, 08:39 AM   #13
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Re: NEARLY EVERY ARS SYMPTOM IN THE BOOK! A love letter to all the worried wells...

Good luck, John! If you were negative at 6 weeks I am confident you will stay negative at the 3-month mark. The 6 week test is very accurate and it is VERY rare to have a change in status once youve tested negative at 6 weeks. Don't fret too much about it - I am sure you will be fine!

 
Old 02-21-2012, 07:25 AM   #14
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Re: NEARLY EVERY ARS SYMPTOM IN THE BOOK! A love letter to all the worried wells...

Okay, so it's been one week since I got my test, no answer yet. I do believe it takes 10-14 days to process. Here's to hoping, guys! Thank you all for the support! @Jiggy, I am praying for you too! Please let me know how everything goes! Nobody deserves to suffer like this!

 
Old 02-21-2012, 07:57 AM   #15
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Re: NEARLY EVERY ARS SYMPTOM IN THE BOOK! A love letter to all the worried wells...

This forum is really helping me right now. I made a stupid mistake 4 days ago and have since convinced myself that I will test positive. I feel terrible and seem to keep giving myself random symptoms. This is going to be a long wait for the test. I will keep all of you who are also waiting in my prayers. Good luck everyone, and thank you for sharing. It really does help knowing others who are going through a similar situation. It genuinely does help with that alone feeling.

 
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