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HIV scare, symptoms, in tears. Help.

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Old 11-11-2014, 10:57 PM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 1
katherinekay HB User
Unhappy HIV scare, symptoms, in tears. Help.

Hi I am panicing. I think I might have contracted HIV but there is so much information on the internet and misinformation, it's just giving me so much anxiety, I am so scared.

I am a 24 year old heterosexual female and went through an awful few months of drunken nights and promiscuity, which I regret with everything in me.

I may have been exposed to it sometime during a 5 month time span (August 2013-January 2014) during which I was going through a lot of hard times and was dealing with the worst heartbreak i've experienced and the loss of my father, which happened in October. I was drinking a lot and had many nights where I would blackout and wake up in bed with whichever guy I was out with that night not being able to recall the events of the previous night, and this was with guys I knew next to nothing about.

I look back on it and wish I could punch myself right in the face because I have never been that type of girl and through all of the trauma I was experiencing at the time I just went nuts trying to find something to numb the pain, to make it all go away, to forget. It was stupid and I am so ashamed of myself, I wish I could go back and change it all but I can't.


For demographic and risk purposes, the guys were all Caucasian besides one guy from Turkey, all around 20 years of age, did not use injectable drugs (that I know of, cannot be positive), and were heterosexual (that I know of, unless they had one crazy drunken night where the had sex with another guy, which would be a crazy scenario and I doubt any of them would have but you never really know).

I am not sure if they all used condoms. A lot of them did but I know for sure a few didn't but none ejaculated inside of me. I did take Plan B once or twice from fear of pre-ejaculate.

I have gone through the guys one by one to determine which I would consider could at all possibly be high risk for being HIV+ and have found only 2 that I think could be high risk based on how I perceived them and how little I know about them. One of which was in the military on leave at the time (not sure if this matters but he was a little sexually intense and i've read military personnel are considered more high risk due to the areas they are deployed, so this terrified me)

Symptoms/Lack of Symptoms:

I first began believing I may have contracted HIV when a rash/hives showed up on my arms this past March (2013). The rash reminded me of poison ivy or bites from bed bugs. I was afraid I had gotten bed bugs from one of the planes I had taken on a trip I had taken but I wasn't sure. The rash was really really itchy, the itch was not enhanced at night, it was like little dots on my forearms. it ended up lasting about 2-3 weeks and then finally it went away after repeatedly using hydrocortisone cream. However it was during the dead of winter, and I had bought a sweater from korea which arrived damp and smelling mildewy (which I stupidly thought was okay to try on quickly before washing), and I have gotten hives in the past (when I was a kid) from clothing.

I have had no fever to my knowledge, have not lost weight (gained actually, which i'm sure was caused by stress eating and all the alcohol I had been consuming. I no longer drink besides the very occasional glass or two of wine), and no colds or flus really, maybe a few runny noses and short lived sore throats.

I have experienced some night sweats and chills (mostly around the same time as my rash, this no longer occurs besides the occasional chill), I have experienced extreme malaise most recently tonight and last night but this has happened a lot (overall sense of discomfort, a very strange uncomfortable feeling), occasional headaches, all over body aches (one solid day around the same time I got the rash, it was all over and I didn't know why but it hurt so badly and I couldn't move, I just laid in bed all day, the next day I felt fine and since then I have only experienced the very occasional minor body aches). I have also recently developed this area on the top of my nose that hurts when you put pressure on it, and its very red. The pain and redness is localized to the left tip of my nose (not sure if this means anything but figured I put it in here anyways).

My anxiety has been going nuts since March. I went through a brief period where I convinced myself I did not have it but since my anxiety has come back and worsened. I have been too scared to go get a test done and have contemplated getting an at home test but haven't done anything. And I am also afraid that if I were to do a home test that I would do something wrong and would get a false reading.

I know the only way to know is buy getting tested, which I plan to do but I am out of my home state visiting family and have no car. Unfortunately my mind is being far more active and causing me to break down in tears. Please help me!

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Old 11-12-2014, 06:15 AM   #2
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: England
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Re: HIV scare, symptoms, in tears. Help.

Hi Kath, im sorry to hear about the passing of your father, im sure it was not easy at all. Please don't beat yourself up about your actions, they are done now and you need to move forward with a positive attitude and not dwell on the past with what you did.

HIV has no specific symptoms and that's why this forum will never speculate on them as we can never really give you any accurate feed back on them.

You already know what you need to do, so all we can offer is support until you test. I don't think it matters where you are, you can always take a HIV test at any clinic. I think sooner than later would be the best advice I can give you.

Best of luck.

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Old 11-12-2014, 07:28 AM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 7
freeflyer HB User
Re: HIV scare, symptoms, in tears. Help.

Okay first off.. I went through this exact same thing, exact same symptoms, same panic, everything, and in the same circumstances (unprotected sex with someone) which is very unlike me. I'm male... but the principles are the same. I was getting hives, night sweats etc etc.. within a couple of weeks of the encounter. It made my life hell with worry, especially when you read about seroconversion.

First off... its unlikely for a heterosexual male to contract HIV.. its not impossible.. but its tricky. I wont go into the reasons, but as a giver rather than receiver the risks are far less. So, unless you know some of your ex partners to be bisexual, then the risks are already considerably lower. This is not set in stone though!! it just means you are at reduced risk if the men were heterosexual.

That aside, there is a small chance of course.. but its very low. You wont know until you get tested. Its a simple procedure and initial (correct) tests are accurate at just a few days after potential exposure. they are again more accurate at four weeks, and then even more accurate at three months. But, in general, if you pass the first one at five days to two weeks after exposure, you're very likely clear.

Due to may paranoia, I had four tests. One at the clinic after about two weeks (full blood test), one at a specialist HIV center (rapid test) at four weeks, one again at three months (full blood test) and another at six months (full blood test). The reason I had so many tests was simple.. I was still getting hives throughout.

Guess what though.. after each test, the hives got progressively better. I'm 99% certain it was the stress of worrying that I had HIV which caused them.
Is this out of character for you to do these things (ie unprotected sex with people you don't know)? In which case, therein lies the cause of your anxiety.

So, hope theres a ray of light in this message for you.. but, you need to go and get tested ! You could go today and have the results within half an hour. Stop worrying yourself, and go get tested.

Last edited by freeflyer; 11-12-2014 at 07:40 AM.

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Old 11-12-2014, 11:14 AM   #4
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 57
susan923 HB User
Re: HIV scare, symptoms, in tears. Help.

Our minds always go for the worst possible outcome. We are all guilty of it!! Before you send yourself into turmoil. Calm down, enjoy your time with your family. Contact your gyno and book an appointment for as soon as you get home.

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