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HIV Anxiety Support Community
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Avatar universal

in need of moving on (2)


To: joggen

This is my old, original nickname. As you requested, I reposted my question. You may delete the first thread.

Thank you,

Angelo


I'm a bisexual male in a relationship with another male.
I tested negative for HIV in March 2008, almost a year after my unprotected encounters. In August 2008 I developed an interest in a cruising spot in a local mall. I was doing only handjobs but then I was giving and receiving unprotected oral sex from a few men. I must add that I do not frequent that cruising spot.

In March 2009 (if I'm not mistaken) I gave a brief unprotected oral to a man, who seemed to have an abrasion on the base of his penis. My mouth didn't touch that spot, since he had a large penis.I got scared when I saw it and walked away.  I was so scared afterwardsI didn't want to do oral sex anymore.

I tested in June 09, 2009 almost 11 weeks after that exposure, because my partner insisted me to after I confessed him of my cheatings. The test came back negative.

I was ready to move on, when I found scary stories about window periods and seroconversions on the internet. The next months after that, was horrifying. I was under tremendous stress and anxiety, I got frequent panic attacks, nightmares and delusions. Worse of it, I continued to visit the cruising spot,because I seemed to be addicted to the thrills,  but I limited myself to only hand jobs.

I went to a therapist for this behavior and she said I should move on, and forgive myself, because I'm so ashamed of myself. I was anxious that I might have infected my partner with something, constantly checking his health, reading online info about HIV, checking symptoms, remembering the dates when I visited the cruising spot etc.

When I, for the second time was ready to move on, I started having complications in August, beginning of September 2009.
It started with pain in my hands, fingers and toes, with a slightly high CRP results and low vitamin B12 and folate levels.
Then frequent stomach problems and occasional diarrhea, soft stool or yellow brown stool till today.
In the beginning of November I got a rash and a fungal infection near my groin and under my armpits. The skin around my groin, under my testicles to my anus got cracked and sore.
In November I got painful swollen lymph nodes in my groin and armpits also seem swollen.
I had a painful infection near my anus, which the doctor described as a combination of fungal and bacterial infection and I got antibiotics and anti-fungus cream for it.
In December the pain in my hands, fingers and toes have returned, my armpits burn and tingle, there is still pain in my groin, and I still got the fungal infection (the lesion seems smaller now). I also got stiff neck and lower back pain.

I'm being monitored by a doctor for diabetes and cardiovascular risks, and also for other infections. And I'm planning on having a full check-up.

All these symptoms worry me, even though I read on the forums here about the low risks of HIV and the accuracy of the test. I feel sometimes that I haven't got through HIV yet, and there is a chance still that I might have it.
I try to calm myself down, and let the doctors do their work, but sometimes it can be hard. I'm afraid to go through another test again.

Sometimes I think about stress and anxiety being the cause of my ailments, because I was under tremendous stress and anxiety about HIV, while working on a project. Also I had two to three jobs in October and November.

I would like your thoughts or advice about this.

Thanks
5 Responses
Avatar universal
Thanks. The reason that I ask people to do that is because sometimes people create new nicknames because they were previously banned from MedHelp. I just want to make sure that people aren't using this group to get around the rules.

Regarding your situation, first of all I see no HIV concern whatsoever. If you are not having unprotected anal sex at these cruising spots (or at least, haven't since three months before your last HIV test in June 2009), and your regular partner is not having unprotected anal sex with casual partners and has tested negative, then you are not at risk for HIV. As Vance told you, the oral sex episode in March was NOT a risk.

To be in a 'window period' for HIV, you have to actually have a risk. Whatever you read on the Internet is incorrect about delayed seroconversions- that is an urban legend- but even if it were true it CANNOT apply to you. It would be the same if you had mutual masturbation, which you seem to understand is also no risk for HIV, instead of oral sex back in March. No risk = no window period.

Symptoms of acute HIV infection never come on more than 4 weeks after exposure, and your "complications" bear no resemblance to ARS symptoms anyway. Certainly many of your symptoms can be due to anxiety (e.g "pain in my hands, fingers and toes" "armpits burn and tingle") or stress/tension (e.g. "stiff neck and lower back pain"). And skin infections happen in perfectly healthy people.

The most important issue that I really suspect here is guilt. Feelings of guilt because you are in a relationship, yet you have this compulsion/addiction to visit cruising spots. Even though you are only engaging in mutual masturbation, the guilt over these liaisons is most likely driving your anxiety.

Since you already have a therapist, I suggest that you keep working with him/her on this compulsion. Not having your own behavior under control can be a source of anxiety, and you are putting yourself at some risk- not for HIV/STDs if you are only engaging in masturbation, but the chance that you could get caught and get arrested.
Avatar universal
Thank you so much for your reply.

I visit medhelp.org frequently and also read the Expert Forum of HIV Prevention. The advices of the doctors calm me down sometimes, but whenever my groin starts aching, my anxiety starts again.

I calm myself down, doing other activities, and you are right about the risk of visiting the cruising spot. I'm avoiding it now, by passing it by and not wandering alone near it to resist temptation,

I have a question though:

It seems that medhelp.org is the only site that assess extremely low to no risk for HIV contraction for unprotected oral sex, while other sites do state otherwise. Why is that?



Avatar universal
Medhelp is not the only site. Try reading blogs on oral sex by Dr. K of the San Francisco city clinic. Or the Johns Hopkins HIV site. I think the answer to your question lies in the fact that most infectious disease doctors like the ones on this site agree that the risk is "extremely low to no risk", yet there are very few such doctors that run an on-line HIV forum other than the ones I've mentioned.
Avatar universal
I'm visiting another doctor this afternoon for my persistent symptons, pain and swelling in my groin and armpit. Most symptoms I described have gone, though I can still feel some sensation in my fingers, thighs and toes.
I'm very nervous about it, my regular doctor told me he couldn't find any lymph node and it could be the start of an hernia. he prescribed diclofenac. I was not satisfied with the treatment so I'm visiting another doctor if he could help me find what's going on.
Avatar universal
Continue to work with your therapist. You never had a risk for HIV and your June '09 test result proves that you do not have it.

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