HIV Anxiety Support Community
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Avatar universal

Complete Anxiety...please help!

So I know there is absolutely no good that can come from symptom chasing & self-diagnosing over the internet, but I'm still about 5 weeks out from being able to take a 3 month HIV test and looking for something...anything to ease my mind until then.  As a new member, I'm not sure if this board is the proper place to do this so if not, please direct me elsewhere.

I am a 21 year old heterosexual female and have always been a hypochondriac in virtually every aspect, with increasing anxiety and symptom chasing since I started college.  I recently got out of a monogamous relationship & was tested weeks after it ended.  I was negative for everything.  However, in the wake of dealing with the break up, having just turned 21, and going out much more frequently, I had unprotected sex with 3 different men (1 time each) in the span of about a month.  Each time it happened, I felt disgusted and horrified with myself but I kept finding myself in the same situation and unable to say no.  The first time, I was entirely too drunk to even know what was happening, but the other two I can't even blame alcohol..just complete irresponsibility.  The first man was 47 (horrible, I know) and a friend of a friend who we are still in contact with.  I confronted him after the fact and he assured me that he is tested at least once a year and has no reason to believe he has been exposed to any sort of STD. He's extremely active and also has pretty irregular hours and is often at the bars.  I've seen him probably a half dozen times since then and he's always been friendly and reassuring about my anxiety.  The second man is a firefighter in his late 20s who I met at a bar.  He walked me home and asked if he could come in at the end of the night and one thing led to another... We exchanged numbers the next day but he was in town for a baseball game and I haven't heard from him since but he did assure me that he was tested at the beginning of the year, which would have been 3 months prior to us meeting, through his job and everything was negative.  The third was a 22 year old man who went to college with one of my roommates who says he has been tested and is clean.  We are still in contact, although nothing sexual has happened since.  Of the three men, the first one ejaculated in me and the other two did not.

About 6 weeks after this, I was diagnosed with strep throat after being around my roommate who had the disease as well. Up to this point, HIV had been nothing more than a fleeting worry and I wasn't looking into symptoms too heavily.

A few weeks later, my roommate's boyfriend brought 2 friends out with us and I ended up having unprotected sex with one of them after, again, drinking entirely too much.  He did not ejaculate inside of me.  I know little else of him but have been assured by my roommate that he's not the type to engage in any sort of high risk behavior.

I have no reason to suspect any of the men have engaged in anal sex or intravenous drug use which I understand would increase the likelihood that they had contracted HIV.

I am completely horrified by my actions and I will never forgive myself if I am HIV+, but ever since the last encounter I have been consumed by anxiety that I am in fact HIV+.  I began feeling extremely fatigued.  I would set my alarm for 8 hours from the time I went to bed and when it was time to get up I would be so unbelievably exhausted that I would move my day around so I could sleep a couple extra hours...usually upwards of 10 hours a night.  I would get a sort of choking sensation if I tried to turn my head while in bed at night.  I would feel as if I had a faint sore throat.  I had lots of phlegm built up in my throat all the time.  I've diagnosed myself with folliculitis (I noticed about 3-4 ingrown follicles on each arm and maybe 2 on my upper legs) and molluscum contagium (I had 1 large pink dot on my shoulder blade with an indent in the center).  

This past week I tested positive for strep for the second time in 2 months and am wondering if there is any link between this and being HIV+.  I know strep is a bacterial infection and HIV is a virus but I'm wondering if having a compromised immune system as 1 would with HIV could cause repeated bouts of strep.  The first time I was on antibiotics for strep, however, I drank while on them so that could be a likely reason for it returning.  At the time I was diagnosed with strep again, I became terrified to the point of rapid heartbeat, nightmares, obsessive thoughts, etc.  I now had a sore throat, neck pain, muscle aches, fatigue, and three flat red scabs on my side that looked like blood blisters or something similar.

I know I've made myself sound terrible but I'm an educated woman with ambitious goals for the future and I made a series of terrible decisions that may permanently alter my life.  I've looked into statistics which make me feel better for a while and then something gets to me and I'm convinced I'm HIV+ yet again.  If I take the test in October and test negative, I will be so unbelievably relieved I know I will see every aspect of life as a complete blessing, but in the meantime I can't do anything but obsess over the fact that I am sure I am HIV+.  Does anyone have any similar stories or encouragement?  I have tried to hint about my worry to my friends but they don't know the extent of what a terrible person I was.
8 Responses
Avatar universal
We are at the same dilemma, but you can already do an initial test if you want to.
Avatar universal
It will at least alleviate your anxiety. Try on the combo it will have a more accurate result at 6 weeks. But still take the 3 months test after.
Avatar universal
Most of the people have done what you have (they just won´t tell it), so you shouldn´t consider yourself as a terrible person. You´re single so you can freely do what you want (as long as you use protection).
Even though you´ve had unproctected sex is doesn´t mean that you got hiv or some other STD, but go and get tested. At 6 weeks you can get tested for all the most common STDs and as joe already told you, at 3 months you should repeat the hiv test.
But don´t worry too much. Many years ago I had unprotected sex with a guy I didn´t know (holiday romance) and after that I was just as worried as you are. But l tested negative for all the stds. And there are so many similar stories.
Still, always remember to have safe sex.
Avatar universal
thanks to both of you!
i am on antibiotics right now being treated for strep. i read somewhere i should wait until 3 weeks after i finish my antibiotics to be tested as they could skew the results...do you know if there's any truth to that?
Avatar universal
It does not affect the test results.
Avatar universal
good to know thank you
Avatar universal
Take a 4 th gen combo test it will be qiute accurate at 6 weeks
Avatar universal
You are at the 6 week period. I would take the antibody test and then another one at 3 months for a conclusive result. Odds are extremely in your favor. One doctor on this site said the odds are 1 in 1000 for one encounter.
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