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HIV anxiety

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HIV anxiety

Postby nononono » Wed Aug 17, 2016 9:01 pm

cw: possible sexual assault and possible TMI but i find it cathartic to give as much detail as possible

so little background: i am a bi girl in a nonmonogamous relationship with another bi girl, we are fluid bonded and agreed to only have sex while protected with other people outside our relationship.

back in february i had an unprotected sexual encounter with a guy i barely knew after he pressured me incessantly about it insisting he was clear of STDs (we were wearing a condom). i don't know why but i gave in to it, all the while i kind of dissociated until he told me he was going to ejaculate, so i kinda snapped out of it and urged him to pull out, so he did before he actually ejaculated (i know it's still a risk since precum can carry HIV). after i left his house i immediately felt guilty and wished i hadn't gone back to his, once i got home i cried all morning, then i took plan B.

the day after i took plan B i felt all the side effects, add that to the trauma of being borderline sexually assaulted (i'm not sure how to define this though, it's hard since i did have sex with him again after the first time about a week later).... i felt so debilitated due to plan b and so low i had to call in sick to work.

a week and a half later i got a really bad yeast infection and since i never had any of those, i naturally panicked and started googling as many STD symptoms as i could. i tried to compose myself and figured it was just a simple yeast infection and maybe a hormonal side effect of plan B and sure it was, it went away with over the counter medication. i still was uneasy though since oral thrush is a seroconversion symptom and thought maybe vaginal thrush would be too. i googled it and didn't find much info (since most sources only consider symptoms in men) but the little sources i found stated recurrent vaginal yeast infections appear in the later stages of HIV but that still didn't convince me.

after this i entered full panic mode so i contacted the guy and asked him for his hiv test results then he said he lost them but that he got them last november and was negative and insisted he always took care of himself and this was a drunken slip up (somehow i don't believe him but anyway...) this made my panic attack even worse.

two weeks after the fact i took matters into my own hands and took the HIV DUO test (4th generation antibody elisa and antigen p24 test) along with a syphilis and HEP C and hep b tests, the antibody one came in first but it was no good since it only tested for 3 month old exposures, then two weeks after i got my blood drawn out i got my antigen , syphilis, hep test results which were negative. according to the lab lady and some internet sources (AIDS foundation sites, etc), it was good for two week old exposures up to a month but other sources stated it was good starting from 3 weeks to a month and a half as different bodies respond differently to HIV and the antigen might show up later. one thing all sources had in common was that this type of test was only 95% reliable and to retest at 3 months.

after the antibody test i sent him my results and he expressed relief (i hadn't had any high risk exposures up until i got involved with him so this was very unnecessary. was he redirecting the guilt to me? idk) and went in to get his results, he came back negative but was still in the window period so it did nothing for me or my anxiety.

a little after i got my antibody results i developed flu or allergy symptoms (?), particularly sore throat accompanied by a globus sensation and postnasal drip. i suffer from hay fever so like in my rational mind i figured this was probably allergy related and possibly tinged with stress (hence the globus sensation) but my gut told me otherwise. this kind of triggered an obsessive drive to look for any hiv related symptoms making the sore throat and globus worse, it eventually subsided but my obsession didn't.

a few weeks after this (early march) my girlfriend got a herpes flareup (she's had herpes for about 3 years) and may or may not have passed it on to me. i developed herpes like symptoms and one of my groin lymph nodes got as big as a small grape. here i entered full panic mode AGAIN because i wasn't sure if my symptoms were herpes related or if the lymph node was because of HIV. up until now i'm not sure if i did get herpes or not but it kinda looked like it...i don't sweat it too much though because for some reason i'm fine with contracting herpes as opposed to other more life threatening STDs, plus not even condoms protect you 100% (consensus is 40%) so i figured i'm always at risk

after this in mid march i developed a perianal abscess, at first i didn't know what it was but i do have some experience with sebaceous cysts on my earlobe that have resolved on their own so i ignored it. a few days later the thing got as big and as hard as a golf ball and i couldn't sit down properly i also got a low grade fever and felt general malaise so i went to the ER (public hospital in mexico) to get the thing lanced but the doctor only sent me a metronidazole course and told me to go back if i noticed any drainage. as i took the antibiotics, i noticed the thing getting softer until the second day till it came to a head and burst on its own. went back to the ER, got another doctor who told me this was not an emergency (no one else was at the hospital since it's always deserted anyway so triage didn't even apply and yes, it is an emergency when the abscess is so close to the groin) and to go back home take sitz baths and pop it like a zit. once i came back home i started googling again and a lot of sites stated perianal abscess in a lot of cases are related to immunodeficiency, hiv/aids included. they did not state what stage they're most common in or anything so again, i panicked, called my aunt and my stepdad in tears and the same day i was taken to a private alternative doctor (mostly german biological medicine and also herbalist). he drained the abscess and gave me a lecture about not going to public hospitals and also said this was stress related. no idea how stress can cause abscesses, later on i figured that it was possibly related to the herpes like episode and that one of the wounds may have become infected with staph.

after this i started getting recurrent vaginal infections, solved every time by over the counter meds, however it didn't last long until they came back (tops two weeks). i eventually went to the gyno after two infections or so. got swabbed and the sample looked at and he concluded i had nothing, not even yeast, no gardnerella, no STDs. i told him of my unprotected episode, along with infections and abscess and he stressed i get tested for HIV at the 3 month mark (this was about 2 months after i had sex with this guy).

the three month mark came and i had no one to go to the clinic with so i postponed it until after 4 months and a half, got tested and came back negative, i expressed my concern to the lady at the lab and she told me not to worry anymore, that i should be 100% sure that i don't need to retest unless i put myself at risk again and that i didn't need to wait so long, that a month and half was sufficient for 4th gen tests.

suffice to say it was a huge relief but it didn't last... i still had recurrent vaginal infections and at the moment i have what looks as another perianal abscess (i'm treating it with raw garlic and compresses which work fantastically btw, better than metronidazole) which seems to have developed from an ingrown hair but it's still suspicious....

so it goes without saying i've been on a three day long panic attack and my response is to google and fuel it...i know i don't have HIV or any other stds but i still have a very bad gut feeling about this

how do i deal???
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Re: HIV anxiety

Postby Snaga » Wed Aug 17, 2016 11:33 pm

Oh my goodness, baby doll.....

First off.... I hope you're not hanging out with that guy, any longer!

Okay so all the test have come back negative. Okay then... you're in the clear, sweets. Try and keep it that way!

Look, stress can and will do all sorts of things. I have anxiety, OCD, and hypochondria (AND fear of doctors, so I basically obsess over being sick but can't get checked out for anything). I get that sore throat and globus sensation constantly. I obsess about having something, and get all kinds of symptoms that are aimed at whatever my current worry is. Acid reflux I start worrying about esophageal cancer, I get a sore throat, then the lump in my throat. I worry about blood pressure, I start getting dizzy and ringing in the ears- only when I have the leisure to really think on it. I get hyperaware of every feeling of pressure in my head.....

When I decide I have something else, I'll have symptoms related to it. I always do.

Stress can do all sorts of things. When I'm super stressed, I am prone to canker sores. I would think problems centered around the female anatomy to be very linked to anxiety. And stress lowers our resistance to things.

I think you need to speak with someone about this. And stop looking up symptoms, sweets! I have a rule- I never look up symptoms. As soon as I read or hear about an ailment, I have it. I worry enough without checking or looking up stuff- I wouldn't dare to look stuff up!

Try to relax a little, sweets. This is going to wear you down if you don't.
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Re: HIV anxiety

Postby nononono » Thu Aug 18, 2016 12:11 am

Snaga wrote:Oh my goodness, baby doll.....

First off.... I hope you're not hanging out with that guy, any longer!

Okay so all the test have come back negative. Okay then... you're in the clear, sweets. Try and keep it that way!

Look, stress can and will do all sorts of things. I have anxiety, OCD, and hypochondria (AND fear of doctors, so I basically obsess over being sick but can't get checked out for anything). I get that sore throat and globus sensation constantly. I obsess about having something, and get all kinds of symptoms that are aimed at whatever my current worry is. Acid reflux I start worrying about esophageal cancer, I get a sore throat, then the lump in my throat. I worry about blood pressure, I start getting dizzy and ringing in the ears- only when I have the leisure to really think on it. I get hyperaware of every feeling of pressure in my head.....

When I decide I have something else, I'll have symptoms related to it. I always do.

Stress can do all sorts of things. When I'm super stressed, I am prone to canker sores. I would think problems centered around the female anatomy to be very linked to anxiety. And stress lowers our resistance to things.

I think you need to speak with someone about this. And stop looking up symptoms, sweets! I have a rule- I never look up symptoms. As soon as I read or hear about an ailment, I have it. I worry enough without checking or looking up stuff- I wouldn't dare to look stuff up!

Try to relax a little, sweets. This is going to wear you down if you don't.


don't worry, i don't hang out with him longer and if i happen to bump into him at parties i actively ignore him and give him the stink eye.

i've told some friends about this and they're mostly sympathetic but it really does nothing for me. i bet they're pretty fed up with it. it's been going on for 5 months on and off, particularly whenever i get sick (which is every two weeks).

i'm trying to get profesional attention (for this, anger management and unrelated anxiety issues) however i'm unemployed (had to quit my job due to anxiety and burnout), can't afford it and my parents are pretty stingy and even if they do have the funds there's no way in hell they'll ever pay for it. so far the only comfort left for me is to test again, come back negative and feel relieved for two weeks tops.
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Re: HIV anxiety

Postby Snaga » Thu Aug 18, 2016 8:05 am

re: constant retesting...

At some point, as in all things related to anxiety, you know, sweet pea, eventually you're going to have to have a little faith you don't have an STD (except like you said, maybe the herpes, given your g/f has outbreaks) and stop this merry-go-round of fear. Don't misundertand me- I've a great fear of STDs and that's arguably kept me from having a lot of fun I'd otherwise have had- and also possibly saved my life, as I'm also Bi (a latent one), and when I would have started doing any same-sex stuff, no one had even heard of AIDS, much less knew what caused it- and back then it was a 99% death sentence. So fear of STDs is a Good Thing. People have gotten too lax about it, IMO.

BUT....... but......... but........

You've tested. You're clean. You're going to have to accept that someday, baby doll. In the absence of any other activity, you're okay. Since your g/f is likewise consensually non-monogamous, protection or no protection, I think it's a good idea to periodically test- to be prudent. But not for a constant need of reassurance. You're going to have to compromise between fear and prudence, and stick to it even when anxiety is screaming at you that you're a walking petri dish.

I almost forgot this wasn't OCD forum... you wouldn't happen to have a history of Obsessive Compulsive, would you? I do, ah it's a lovely thing to be OCD and a hypochondriac at the same time. I'm always dying. No, seriously, I am. I get over one dread disease, I'll find another, there's plenty out there to choose from.
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Re: HIV anxiety

Postby Miz_Know_It_All_1 » Wed Sep 21, 2016 7:49 pm

Hi Sweetie-
Below is a post I wrote to another user. It addresses most your concerns so I think it is relevant:

I had incidents like yours throughout my young life as have both my daughters :cry: . It just eats away at you and can feel like your life is ruined. And there is the isolating part bc you don't feel comfortable telling many people. I got major panic attacks with my health worries. And as soon as I finally was able to let go of a concern, another health worry would spring up. Always health obsessions.

One thing that was of major importance in my process is that I was diagnosed with OCD (the obbsesive worry, thinking, etc). I had been suffering for a number of years. They did not have SSRIs when I first had started having obsessive thoughts with panic attacks. When I started Lexapro, my life changed 100%. I could finally enjoy my life. I was in plenty of therapy but my first therapist missed it completely.

No telling you what to do but life is short--I wish I had not suffered so those couple of years that got really bad.

What I have learned (and I bet you know underneath:) is the issue is not whether you have cancer--its the compulsive thinking. When you have the thoughts can you tell yourself something like the real issue is the compulsive thinking, not the disease. I have "had" several types of cancer, esp breast cancer, MS, and brain tumors. I have spent way too long looking at my skin for cancer, I have had mysterious diseases I have read about, lumps here and there, fear of HIV. Also thought I was going crazy.

I wish you the very best. Advice from someone who has lived a long life--get to a good cognitive behavioral therapy. I strongly suggest looking at meds-perhaps SSRIs. Looking back, I have no problem with meds bc my life was changes so drastically for the best.

Best to you!
Tracy

-- Wed Sep 21, 2016 11:44 am --

PS-try your best not to go online looking at diseases. I know this is hard.

T
Miz Know It All
(My name is my aspiration)


Major Depression, GAD, panic disorder, OCD-D part, alcoholic (recovery) not all the above at once (usually).
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