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Waiting on results and scared

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Hi, I guess I should preface this with a confession, of sorts.


I had two bouts of unprotected sex with a woman I was dating a little while back. One accidental (the condom broke), one was intentional (but there was minimal 'fluid exchange'). We spoke about health issues before hand so I wasn't too worried but recently she told me that she'd had a pregnancy scare with her previous boyfriend. I hadn't been aware of this. Preganacy scare = unprotected sex in my mind and as far as I know she has not been tested for anything since we met. So-- I got nervous. I mentioned this to her and she assured me again that she is as clean as fresh laundry. Since that time her and I have decided that friendship is our best recourse.


I went for an HIV test a few days ago and it'll be three weeks before the results are in. THREE WEEKS! It has only been a few days and I'm going a little crazy. I've never been more aware of my body and everything feels like a symptom. I've got a dry mouth, my neck glands feel swollen, I keep clearing my throat and occasionally coughing, my muscles and nerves keep twitching, I've had headaches and I feel tired...the thing is, these could be normal reactions to the stress or it's just I'm attaching extra significance to things that come and go naturally.


I realize you can't reassure me that everything is going to be okay but does anyone have experience with this to help me cope with the waiting and to stop being so paranoid about what may or may not be symptoms? I can't help but think the worst about all this.

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Would it help if I told you HIV has no concrete symptoms until the latent stages?

Obviously it depends how long ago the potential transmission happened, but if it's within the last year or so then any flu-like symptoms are probably just...flu.


Also, would it help if I told you that the chance of HIV transmission is about 1 in every 1,000 exposures? (link removed)

It's a common misconception that if you sleep with someone with HIV then you've probably got HIV - not true at all, the chance is small. I'm assuming you don't know for sure if this woman was HIV+, so that makes the chance even smaller.


You'll be fine. (Be more careful in future though, of course!)

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A couple of things to take note of and some might ease your mind some might not depending on where you stand.


First, it is entirely possible to get it in your head that you have all of the symptoms of someone in HIV when in fact you don't. I've mentally scared myself into thinking I had it once and even went and got checked. However, the facility that I had taken it at had a test that gave back results in under 15 minutes! If this test turned positive then they would encourage you to do the 3 week test just to make sure it wasn't a false positive. It could be that you also have some kind of a cold or flu that is giving you some symptoms that seem like HIV. Also keep in mind that although HIV can be found in any race, demographic, population, etc...it has a higher concentration in certain demographics than others and this has been proven. Homosexual, interveneous drug users, and poor communities have a higher HIV positive percentage of their population than say a heterosexual white female in a wealthy community. Not to say that the latter can't contract it, but there is a less chance percentage wise that she might come in contact with it.


Second, something that might ease your mind a little is that HIV isn't the death sentence that it used to be. I am good friends with a physician that specializes in HIV treatment and they now have drugs that suppress the virus at all 4 stages of it's replication process. I am not a physician nor knowledgeable enough to give you the exact details but the summary is that there is a drug that stops it from latching onto your cells and thereforeeee only remains in your body as a small trace of the virus. There is a drug that will not allow the HIV single stranded RNA to replicate into the double stranded DNA. And there are other drugs available that stop it from taking over our immune system and whiping it out. I forget the other steps, it is a bit complex but as our understanding of the virus awakens we are able to develop medicine that can supress it for the entirety of our life. Certainly better news than years ago when we were ignorant and knew nothing about it or how to even go about developing medicines that can help us carry on with our lives.


I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

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I came to the conclusion a month ago (great timing, Emily) that I'd had unprotected (I was on the pill, of course! A baby, ARGH! But HIV? Secondary consideration..urgh stupidity of youth) sex with two people in last 6 months, joy.


I got tested as part of a routine screening for chlamidya (which I didn't have, by the way!), and only then did I twig..*ah possibly..I should get HIV tested too*.


I have one booked for June 3rd. It'll take a week to come back. I'm not looking forward to the wait either, but I'm trying not to worry. Because there isn't any point.

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The mind is a powerful thing. When people are stressed or having anxiety issues their mind can make their body do some crazy things. For example I recently had alot of stress on my plate and I had an anxiety attack because of it. My mind started giving my body respiratory problems, like for example I had constricted breathing, hot flashes, and I thought I felt like I had something in my throat that I couldn't swallow completely. I started to think that I had some bad respiratory infection or that I had a tumor or something. It's funny your mind can make your body do a number of crazy things and when you get these symptoms sure they seem like they could be symptoms of something more serious, when really if you can calm down and relax and realize that this is your anxiety/stress these symptoms would eventually go away. Hope this helps. Bob

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Arg, yeah, that's exactly it. My throat feels constricted, like there's a lump there. All the other stuff too. Headaches, bad stomach...bwah. I woke up this morning from a deep sleep and I felt relaxed then, the thoughts raced in and it all started up again so, it's likely I'm giving myself my own 'symptoms'


I really appreciate the good words from all of you. I'm trying to take some deep breaths, not think about it-- no promises mind you. I'm an optimist by nature but for something like this it's so easy to be pessimistic. Anticipate the worst, hope for the best y'know?


I'm feeling really foolish that I got to this point. I really should listen to my brain because when this stuff was going down, getting involved with this woman, I wasn't listening to my doubts.

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