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Due to my considerable concerns this is a very long text. If u do have the wish to help me or give a hint, I beg you to read my whole historical record to understand my issue. I would be very greatful for any comment, as I feel very very bad at the moment.
I was happy to have found this forum because, like many others going through this, my life has been a living hell for the last 4 weeks.
I recognize that there is a great chance that I am exaggerating my fears, but nonetheless I do have some symptoms that I do not like the presence of.
Two months ago I had protected vaginal sex and unprotected insertive oral sex with a "normal" girl. I ejaculated in her mouth. Some 6 weeks ago I had yet again unprotective insertive oral sex with another girl without ejaculating. Finally some 4 weeks ago I had two encounters with another girl - one being protected anal sex - the other being unproctected insertive oral sex with ejaculation.
My final encounters with the third girl were on a Friday and Sunday. Already the following Monday I had an painful throat. This condition lasted for two days and receeded somewhat. On the same Wednesday my throat was getting sligthly better I discovered an enlargened lymph node in my groin. (which may well have been there for some days - who knows?)
Due to a past record of cancer in my family I got scared, started reading about symptoms on the internet and immediately went to see the doctor. This doctor gave me antibiotics for 5 days and told me to come back if the lymph node had not gone away in 10 days. Luckily, my groin lymph node did shrink considerably and after some 14 days it was - and remains - almost annihilated, which should mean that you can exclude the risk of cancer. (you can barely feel its presence).
I should probably also tell you that my enlarged lymph node was actually not placed in the groin, but just to the left of the root of my penis. The way I understand it that area is still connected to the lymph system and is therefore a so-called "outer gland" and still responds to impurities in the lymph canals.
However, I started having other symptoms in the following period. My diffuse (it seems like annoying spot is not always located in the same spot) soar throat never really went away, although I have no enlarged neck lymph nodes, and you can physically tell observing well from the outside that my neck is slightly swollen on my left side.
Thereafter, I started feeling a tense and painful neck and slight headaches. A few days later my back muscles started hurting too, I was feeling increasingly dizzy and I started feeling a tense pressure on my chest. Also, I felt somewhat weakened, without being very weak, and I am unsure whether or not I had a slight fever..
On another note, although my enlarged groin node went away, the area around it is still sore..all the way from the top of my groin and all the way to the top of my testicle. It doesnt really hurt, but there is a uncommon and unpleasant feeling there. For the first 3 to 5 days that I had this feeling I also felt strange urinating - but it didnt really hurt, and there was no discharge otherwise (which is common if you are infected by chlamydia or some of the other STDs). My testicles also felt somewhat strange at the time.
My left side of my private area is still somewhat strange and has a slight uncomfortable feeling sometimes...sitting or peeing mostly.
My doctor did a research on my genital area and said that I had no signs of disease. He even said that my stress could affect my testicles and genital area, make it tense and hence give certain strenouos signs. (I have never heard of this before and cannot find anything on the internet on this - could someone please give me a clue wheather this could be true or not)
Now, an important fact to consider is that I am not good dealing with this insecurity mentality. My mind hasn't stopped thinking about this for some 4 weeks now and I clearly feel my emotional stress levels have gone up considerably due to my fears. I have a hard time sleeping, I am very tense and cramped, and I cannot concentrate on almost anything.
Hence, I do not object to someone claiming some of my symptoms might be due to stress. In fact, when I started forcing my mind off the topic, taking several deep breaths a day and stopped looking for symptoms and causes on the internet my chest pressure lowered and my back muscle pain disappeared.
And so, I thought I was ok, for a while at least... Because a few days later I started getting an sensation of irritation on the upper parts of my arms. First, I thought nothing of it, but the irritation started moving down past my albows and down to cover my hands too. At first, there was not much to see, but slowly thousands of tiny /white/reddish dots have appeared. Some times they itch, sometimes they don't. And just today I also discovered the same dots on my legs. Interestingly, I do not seem to have any dots of that kind on my torso.
From what I understand reading on the internet these are not the typical Acute HIV dots, but it also says that rash symptoms can be different from time to time.
Also, from what I understand - again from internet sources - small somewhat itchy dots are usually a sign of a virus infection, not bacterial, where dots/rash tend to be larger in size.
Now, I have been reeading on the internet almost 24/7 in some periods, hence I believe I now have extensive knowledge of many of the common STDs, viral diseases, bacterial infections, window periods etc etc. I have decided to do a blood test this coming week since some 32 days will then have passed since my last possible exposure. (which according to statistics should give me a 90 - 95 % chance that any possible HIV virus may show up - please correct me if you do not agree on my view)
So what I'm I left with?? A lot of doubts and fears!
I understand that unless the condom broke during my vaginal and anal sex acts- contrary to my knowledge - there is not much of an HIV risk in doing insertive oral sex for the male. However, I had a nose bleed during my second last encounter ( 3 days before my sore throat started) and actually smeared some of my blood on her upper body parts. Where exactly my blood was smeared on her I am not sure although it is my impression that she did only get in on her externally.
I have later asked this girl if she felt any sores in her mouth during my insertive oral sex on her, and she does not remember having had any.
So this is where I am at today. I am very afraid of what the combination of symptoms I have may suggest.
I understand the following:
- Chances of getting HIV originally were probably pretty low considering to my sexual conduct.
- I have not had all the major symptoms that usually associated with Acute HIV like a severe headache, a bad fever, a "typical" rash on my torso or neck, no weight loss, no sweaty nights etc etc.
- From what I read most Acute HIV symptoms come together and leave together, and not in stages, like it seems to have done in my case (can anyone with knowledge on the area confirm this?)
- From what I read most Acute HIV cases start showing from 2 to 4 weeks after exposure, which would effectively exclude the symptoms being caused by the last girl I was with due to the short window period.
I still have considerable fears and anxiety that is making my life hell, and has meant I had to skip going to work this week. These are founded on the following reasoning:
- Even if we write off my dizzyness, slight headaches, bad general feeling of well being, my chest pains and back muscles achings that I had for a period, I am now still left with a somewhat itchy rash on my arms and legs, a sore throat and slightly swollen neck is going on 4 weeks and a sour left groin around (around where my lymph node used to be).
I cannot find any disease or medical description of anything (my doc also discared mononocleosis) that fit the symptoms combination I have...except for Acute HIV.
Most other STDs are probably ruled out as they have a bacterial background and hence did not respond to my five days of antibiotics (viruses cannot be fought off by antibiotics) and since my rash is the kind usually connected to viruses. Also, I have had no blisters or sores that I know off.
Hence, I am left wondering what causes all of this. PLEASE GIVE ME AN IDEA IF YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT I MIGHT HAVE IF IT IS NOT HIV!!
COULD THERE BE ANY REASONABLE EXPLANATION TO THIS APART FROM ACUTE HIV? (are there fx. other inoffensive viral diseases that could give you this rash, an enlarged lymph node and irritated neck/throat that you know off)
I am really scared right now, and a few kind, perhaps even reassuring words on what this may or may not be, would be greatly appreciated.
Also, could commentators please abstain from phrases like "symptoms means nothing, testing does" or "go get the test and be done with it" or "relax dude" - because such comments will not help me in any ways. So try to give logical explanations to your viewpoints, please.
Any comments, ideas, input and/or concerns are welcome.
WHatever you may have it is NOT HIV from the acts you described or the symptoms you mention. THere are lots of various viruses that could cause all of the symptoms you discuss above.
Stress can play mean tricks on the body. Believe me I know. The funny thing is you never pay attention to your body until you feel this fear. Then once you start paying attention you don't know what is normal and what is not. Plus every sensation is magnified 1000x when it should not be. Then you add this damn "internet" to it and it drives a person mad with what is out there. Well I can tell you that you came to the right place for real answers. The 3 people on here that hopefully will respond are Teak, LIzzie Lou and Nursegirl. As much reading as I have done and the specialists/Dr's I have talked to there is NO REASON to believe you have HIV at this point - NONE
It sounds like a test is what you need to get over your anxiety and we all know it is going to be negative from the description above. I'm sure Teak, Lizzie Lou or NurseGirl will come back with No Risk or something very simple whereas I tend to be longwinded because I know/feel your anxiety as I am still living through it!!!
You have HIV/worried well anxiety provoked by excessive reading of medical information on the Internet. That's it.
You never had a risk for HIV. Condoms work and insertive oral sex is no risk. You are not infected and you are fine. That's as much logic as we can provide you.
Your situation is no different than the 1000s of other worried wells/hypochondriacs who have come here.
If this is affecting your ability to work, you need to get to a therapist right away to deal with this. You seem to have some understanding that what you are going through is purely psychological and due to anxiety- a good therapist will help you control that anxiety and deal with the irrational thoughts that are behind it.
Make an appointment for next week, and get back into work. Things will get better, believe me, once the rational part of your brain takes over.
I appreciate very much the time you took to read through my situations and give me answers.
I DO understand that part of this can be my mind racing off and by psychological factors forcing me down. I AM trying to cope with the pressure, but I am not very good at doing so. Apart from the emotional stress and affect this may be having on me, I feel like a need real arguments to be able to sleep at peace at night.
Never again, I especially agreed with everything you said on how your focus on your own body makes you unsure of what is real and not. I see things..changes... on my body, and wonder what it used to be like before I started questionning it. I recognize every single word of it...trust me...
However, you say you know of other viral diseases / infections that might give me the tiny dots rash, a swollen neck and a enlarged lymph node. Obviously, I really hope that this is true, but do you know this for a fact?
I may come off as a hypochondriac to you, which is fine (and perhaps true), but believe me that my anxieties are for real and I do not feel well - and I cannot help asking "If I am ok, why do I keep having these damn symptoms?"
To top it off, my rash/tiny spots have now also entered my chest region. I thank you very much for all your support, but I am still somewhat worried, and definitely too tense.
On two final notes, I would like to say : I agree that the damn internet medical information has done more harm than good...
and also, best of luck to you never again, whatever you are going through...
As a side question, I would like to know if the symptoms comes in stages or all together... say the rash and the fever...should they appear at the same time, or is it possible there is a time elapse between the two?
I'm not sure how help you can get here if you want additional arguments that you are fine.
All I can say is that all the 'symptoms' you describe sound like amplified body sensations due to anxiety, normal body variations, or something attributable to a perfectly benign cause. I'm not a doctor, but I can think of plenty of innocent causes of an occasional rash or enlarged lymph node that don't involve anything remotely life threatening or sinister. And your focus on sensations in your genitals can definitely be due to stress.
Your so-called symptoms are very typical of worried wells. Trust me, I've read plenty of posts similar to yours. Just search through the archives on the Expert HIV forum on your symptoms and you will get 100s of hits- you will find that not one of those ever turned out testing positive!
You did the right thing by taking the initial step in reaching out and seeking help here, but I really think you need to take the next step in a two-pronged course of action to get back to your normal state of well being: Speaking with a psychological counselor directly about your concerns and going to an HIV testing center and getting your inevitable negative result from an HIV rapid test.
A counselor will be able to address other psychological causes of what you are going through that you are not aware of. For example, sometimes hypochrondria is a symptom of clinical depression. Or maybe there are other sources of stress in your life that you need to work through. You shouldn't be dealing with this anxiety by yourself or through distant advice over the Internet. Personal, one-one-one counseling will provide much more potent arguments for you, and will put you in the right direction for getting to the root of the problem.
And of course, your negative HIV test result will provide the most potent argument of all. You only need it for psychological reasons but it may be the only way for you to get back to normal.
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