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Avatar universal

HIV crisis, rash, malaise, anxiety, in tears. Need help.

Hi I am panicing. I think I might have contracted HIV but there is so much information on the internet and misinformation, it's just giving me so much anxiety, I am so scared. I am a 24 year old heterosexual female and went through an awful few months of drunken nights and promiscuity, which I regret with everything in me.

I may have been exposed to it sometime during a 5 month time span (August 2013-January 2014) during which I was going through a lot of hard times and was dealing with the worst heartbreak i've experienced and the loss of my father, which happened in October. I was drinking a lot and had many nights where I would blackout and wake up in bed with whichever guy I was out with that night not being able to recall the events of the previous night, and this was with guys I knew next to nothing about. I look back on it and wish I could punch myself right in the face because I have never been that type of girl and through all of the trauma I was experiencing at the time I just went nuts trying to find something to numb the pain, to make it all go away, to forget. It was stupid and I am so ashamed of myself, I wish I could go back and change it all but I can't.

I first began believing I may have contracted HIV when a rash showed up on my arms this past March (2013). I live in upstate NY so we get pretty brutal winters and it can get very cold, which it did in March. The rash almost seemed as if it was poison ivy or bites from bed bugs (I had just gotten back from a trip to Wisconsin). I was afraid I had gotten bed bugs from one of the planes I had taken on my trip but I wasn't sure. I knew it wasn't poison ivy because it was winter. I had gotten clothes from Korea prior to the development of this rash and one of the sweaters was damp when I received it and it smelled funny, for some reason I thought it would be okay to slip it on quickly just to see how it fit before washing it. I thought maybe the sweater caused the rash, but I wasn't sure. The rash was really really itchy, the itch was not enhanced at night, it was like little dots on my forearms. it ended up lasting about 2-3 weeks and then finally it went away after repeatedly using hydrocortisone cream.

For demographic and risk purposes, the guys were all Caucasian besides one guy from Turkey, all around 20 years of age, did not use injectable drugs (that I know of, cannot be positive), and were heterosexual (that I know of, unless they had one crazy drunken night where the had sex with another guy, which would be a crazy scenario and I doubt any of them would have but you never really know).

I am not sure if they all used condoms. A lot of them did but I know for sure a few didn't but none ejaculated inside of me. I did take Plan B once or twice from fear of pre-ejaculate.

I have gone through the guys one by one to determine which I would consider could at all possibly be high risk for being HIV+ and have found only 2 that I think could be high risk based on how I perceived them and how little I know about them.

I have had no fever to my knowledge, have not lost weight (gained actually, which i'm sure was caused by stress eating and all the alcohol I had been consuming. I no longer drink besides the very occasional glass or two of wine), and no colds or flus really, maybe a few runny noses and short lived sore throats.

I have experienced some night sweats and chills (mostly around the same time as my rash, this no longer occurs besides the occasional chill), I have experienced extreme malaise most recently tonight and last night but this has happened a lot (overall sense of discomfort, a very strange uncomfortable feeling), occasional headaches, all over body aches (one solid day around the same time I got the rash, it was all over and I didn't know why but it hurt so badly and I couldn't move, I just laid in bed all day, the next day I felt fine and since then I have only experienced the very occasional minor body aches). I have also recently developed this area on the top of my nose that hurts when you put pressure on it, and its very red. The pain and redness is localized to the left tip of my nose (not sure if this means anything but figured I put it in here anyways).

My anxiety has been going nuts since March. I went through a brief period where I convinced myself I did not have it but since my anxiety has come back and worsened. I have been too scared to go get a test done and have contemplated getting an at home test but haven't done anything.

I know the only way to know is buy getting tested, which I plan to do but I am out of my home state and have no car. Unfortunately my mind is being far more active and causing me to break down in tears. Please help me!
5 Responses
Avatar universal
sorry but i cant read all, can please tell me your risk  ...sorry i m not a good reader of text ...
Avatar universal
Hey, first of all u should talk with a good friend or somebody from your family. U had a horrible time, you need somebody to talk. Dont try to get alone through it.
To your risk. Without a condom is always a risk. You should get tested after 6-8 weeks after the last guy. Dont try to look for sympthoms. There are no specific HIV sympthoms. Just read the posts on this forum. They all have them, but 99% of them are negative.
480448 tn?1426948538
For starters, I'm sorry for the loss of your father.  I hope you've found new, healthier ways to cope?  If not, please consider reaching out for some help, either in the way of therapy, or grief counseling...something.

Okay, so you made some bad decisions and acted carelessly.  The GOOD news is, it's STILL highly unlikely that you have HIV.  To put it into perspective for you, out of a total US population of 316.13 million, only about 1.1 million people are infected with HIV.  That makes the probability of running into someone who is infected so unlikely that you'd have a better chance of getting struck by lightning...twice.  You also mentioned that the men you had these encounters with weren't particularly high risk individuals...again, that works in your favor.

Secondly, while new infections among heterosexuals has been on the rise in the past decade, it's still FAR more rare (and more difficult to transmit) versus homosexual male and IV drug abuser transmissions.  The people who are getting infected are typically people engaging in repeated high risk behaviors, with men having unprotected anal sex with men being top on the list, and IV drug abusers not far behind.  Heterosexual transmission, while obviously a reality, is rare.

So, yes, you need tested.  For ALL STDs, including HIV.  Chances are, you are going to test negative, then you can breathe a sigh of relief.  Don't put it off.....find a way, and go get tested today.  You can find a clinic that does rapid testing, and you can have your result back in 20 minutes or so.  Of course testing creates anxiety, but FAR less than the not knowing, wondering, and what iffing.

I will spare you the condom lecture, as you're already well aware of the importance of using condoms to protect yourself (from all STDs AND pregnancy)...I'll just say that I hope you won't put yourself in this kind of predicament again.  It's not worth it.

Come back and let us know when you've tested.  Hang in there.
480448 tn?1426948538
The OPs post is well written, and easy to follow.  It's one thing to ask for clarification when a post is very difficult to read (due to spelling, language barriers, etc).....but just because a post is a little longer than most is not a reason to ask for them to repeat themselves, IMO.
Avatar universal
Hello, thank you all for your replies and kindness. It is really helpful to hear logic and the real risks.

I will try to get tested, for everything, as soon as possible. I am currently visiting family in another state but instead of trying to wait it out until I get home I will try to somehow get to a clinic while i'm here. I will also try to open up about this to a friend, I have one that I would feel comfortable sharing all this with but have been too mortified to bring it up.

I am currently in a relationship with someone and have never been happier or been treated so well by someone, which makes all this so much more difficult. I would fall to pieces if I lost them due to some stupid mistakes I made prior to dating them.

I will try my best to forget about possible symptoms, you are right, they have only caused me distress and a lack of sleep from googling for countless nights.

Thank you
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