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Author Topic: Needing advice on getting tested.  (Read 5280 times)

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Offline jeffreyh

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  • Posts: 16
Needing advice on getting tested.
« on: June 26, 2006, 11:16:25 AM »
Hi all,

   My situation involves fairly low risk sexual activities-oral sex.  It has mostly been receiving (insertive) and a few giving without ejaculation but perhaps some exposure to precum.  The main reason that I'm scared is that I'm Bipolar and tend to go on drinking binges on the weekends.  I'm well aware that my drinking has gotten out of control.  There have been a couple of times that I can't remember getting somewhere or all that took place.  Once, I woke up naked in bed with a guy friend who swears that we didn't do anything because I was too drunk.  I know this sounds like a crazy question and yes, I'm embarrassed even asking it, but what the hell...Would one know the next day if they had been anally penetrated during the "drunken" night??  I could see maybe some oral going on but anal and not knowing it?? Another reason that I'm worried is that I experienced some ARS-like symptoms for @ 4 days (Doctor says it was strep throat) that ended with an all too scary tell-tell rash that looked like a sunburn on my chest/neck/shoulders that lasted for a day and a half and then went away.  About two weeks later, I started having lymph node swelling and tenderness/achiness in my groin area and in my neck.  They were never to the point where you could visibly see the swelling, but you could feel it.  Well, it's been over a month now since the sickness with rash and this damn lymph node pain/swelling hasn't gone away!!
So, I know I need to get tested but here's my dilemma: My new health insurance doesn't kick in till July 1st.  For now, I'm on my old health insurance plan (COBRA extended benefits).  I was wanting to get the blood draw test on my old health plan and pick up the results in about a week after I'm on my new health plan (I'm going on vacation for a week and plan to get the results when I get back).  Does anyone know if this might throw me into a "preexisting condition" with my new health insurance?  Also, I know that some people say to get tested anonymously but if it's positive, isn't staying anonymous practically impossible, especially once I would need to seek treatment?

Thanks for all the advice and support!
Jeffrey H.

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Needing advice on getting tested.
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2006, 12:21:30 PM »
OK Jeffrey, first thing you need to do is to take some deep slow breaths in and out. Right now, no kidding.

You've got a lot of diffirent issues tossed in together here. Let's see what I can sort out.

Giving oral is risky more in theory than actuality. There are very, vrey documented cases of transmission in this manner and even those are questionable. THere's much more evidence that it's not risky, especially if no ejaculation takes place.

It's difficult to say flatly that if anal sex had occured you would have known it. Presumably there would at least have been some soreness if not blood, semen or lube as other evidence. From what you have written I would doubt it happened, but HIV status is never something to guess about. So yes, getting tested at 13 weeks is a good plan. My guess is that you will  test negative.

None of the symptoms you are concerned about are in anyway HIV-specific. And you kind of casually toss in rather dismissively that your doctor thinks your sore throat is strepp. Whether it is or not, I would suggest discussing any symptoms with your doctor rather than practicing medicine without a license on your self, which will only get you into trouble.

What is a very big red flag in what you have written is this matter of drinking and blacking out. This is extremely dangerous and not something to be ignored and to just think it will go away or that you can control it somehow through willpower. I suggest you get some professional help to assit in sorting out the issues involved.

Good luck with your test result.

Cheers,
Andy Velez

Offline Ann

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Re: Needing advice on getting tested.
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2006, 12:25:29 PM »
Jeffrey,

I'm pretty sure that any new diagnoses made while on COBRA will not be classed as a pre-existing condition.

If you are in the States you can find an anonymous testing center near you by going to the HIV testing center database and entering your zip code. You won't have to worry about insurance right away if you test anonymously.

You're doing the right thing in testing. Anyone who is sexually active should be having a full sexual health care check-up, including but not limited to hiv testing, at least once a year and more often if unprotected intercourse occurs.

If you aren't already having regular, routine check-ups, now is the time to start. As long as you make sure condoms are being used for intercourse, you can fully expect your routine hiv tests to return with negative results. Don't forget to always get checked for all the other sexually transmitted infections as well, because they are MUCH easier to transmit than hiv.

Let us know how it goes.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline jeffreyh

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Re: Needing advice on getting tested.
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2006, 03:56:03 PM »
Thank you both for your supportive comments/suggestions.
Jeffrey H.

Offline megasept

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  • Steven here...
Re: Needing advice on getting tested.
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2006, 07:08:00 PM »
 ;) You sound like lots of fun on the weekends, but I guess it all hits you Mondays. Anal sex...chances are you'd know. Nodes and swelling...thousands of reasons. If you get tested "anonymously" using an alias then you'd get results without affecting your other coverages. You don't need to be treated because you have HIV, you need to discuss treatment. You must have full blood work done to monitor your disease and it's possible effects. The "pre-existing condition" thing doesn't mean you aren't eligible right away. A letter saying you've been under treatment (it really only says you've been insured non-stop) ;) is often generated (even automatically) by your last insurer to give to your new one. State law might also have an effect (I may be remembering this wrong). If you can't handle the drinking then...well, don't. Don't mean to rain on anyone's parade. I wish you good luck! Be bad, but not too bad, on your vacation, OK?

Offline jeffreyh

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Re: Needing advice on getting tested.
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2006, 04:08:28 PM »
Being bad or naughty but not too bad or naughty-always a dilemma and seems to be a fine line ;).  Will do and thanks for the comments. ;D
Jeffrey H.

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Needing advice on getting tested.
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2006, 06:37:40 PM »
Jeffrey, it's not about being "naughty" or any such stuff. Let's use some simple grownup terms here because HIV is something that is not cute and it's nothing to fool around about. I'm saying this because all too often in the past I have known people to get coy and playful about safer sex and sex in general, and end up with very unhappy consequences.

Whether you are pitching or catching, as long as you use a latex condom everytime you have intercourse you are covered, literally and figuratively. Some consider giving oral to be a low level risk although most of the reliable data available indicates it's even less risky than low level. That's something you have to decide about as far as your personal safety comfort level in terms of giving and whether or not ejaculating in your mouth is ok or not.

You can enjoy yourself all you want to sexually. Just consistently follow safer sex guidelines. It's not complicated and it's not naughty.

Cheers,
Andy Velez

Offline jeffreyh

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  • Posts: 16
Re: Needing advice on getting tested.
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2006, 09:58:32 AM »
Gotcha! Thanks.
Jeffrey H.

Offline kentb

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  • Posts: 75
Re: Needing advice on getting tested.
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2006, 11:47:08 AM »
Jeffrey, you don't say if your new insurance is group or individual.  If it is group there should be no pre-existing condition limitation.  However if you are talking about an Individual Medical Policy you may want to consider the host of things they may consider preexisting.
Good Luck,

Kent

Offline jeffreyh

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Re: Needing advice on getting tested.
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2006, 03:29:58 PM »
It's actually a group policy.  I plan to get tested soon after my vacation as I feel fairly sick every day-mostly stomach pain and nausea, seeing spots in my field of vision sometimes, pain in my felt and hands and just a knawing feeling that something isn't right.  I did notice that the size of the lymph nodes in my groin and my neck have gone down and aren't as tender.  I can't believe they were that way for nearly two months!  I find that pretty unusual but then again allergy season is in full force here, so maybe that's it-hopefully. 

Thanks again for the advice and support!

Sincerely
-Jeffrey
Jeffrey H.

Offline jeffreyh

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  • Posts: 16
Re: Needing advice on getting tested.
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2006, 12:23:06 PM »
Well, I got back from my vacation and went to the Doctor's on Thursday, July 6, 2006.  I talked to the Doctor for a long time and he reassured me that it was the right thing to do-GET TESTED!!  I know that's it's better to know than not to know when it comes to a virus like this, but I'm still wondering, "Is my life going to change forever"?  The strange symptoms, including stomach cramps, nausea, light-headedness and extreme tiredness are still there  :-[

Well, I guess I'll get the results in about a week.  I plan on taking a friend and also some Klonopin with me just in case the news isn't so great.  To reassure me, the Doctor told me that in his humble opinion, someone who was newly diagnosed today had an excellent chance of living a "normal life" with a lifestyle change (meaning taking your meds and taking care of yourself).  I hope he's right, for all those newly diagnosed.

Thanks for the support and advice!

Take Care!  -Jeffrey
Jeffrey H.

Offline Andy Velez

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  • Posts: 24,894
Re: Needing advice on getting tested.
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2006, 04:55:11 PM »
Good luck with your test result.

And hey, no more drinking to excess please. You don't need any more blackouts in your life.

Cheers,
Andy Velez

Offline jeffreyh

  • Member
  • Posts: 16
Re: Needing advice on getting tested.
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2006, 01:16:19 PM »
Well, I had my blood drawn for the HIV test and several other tests on Thursday am (7/6/06) and still haven't heard anything.  My friend had his HIV test drawn the next morning (7/7/06) and he got his negative results back on Monday (7/10/06).  I know it might take longer for the results of the other tests to come back.  Surely, if the HIV test had been positive, they would call me right away instead of waiting for my appointment this coming Monday (7/17/06) right?????

No news is good news, right???

Man, I'm stressing out!

Jeffrey H.

Offline Ann

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  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Needing advice on getting tested.
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2006, 03:20:42 PM »
Jeffrey,

We have no way of knowing the proceedures in place at the clinic where you tested. Why don't you call them?

In the meantime, try to stay productively busy. It really does help when you keep your mind occupied with something other than hiv.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline jeffreyh

  • Member
  • Posts: 16
Re: Needing advice on getting tested.
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2006, 03:35:39 PM »
Well, I've managed to keep busy up to this point.  I'm literally 1 1/2 hours away from finding out my labwork results and whether my life is going to be forever changed.  I already feel sick to my stomach!  Part of me just never wants to find out the results.  I know that's crazy and I have to find out one way or the other.  Where to find the damn courage!???

A friend is going with me, so that should help.  Right now, I'm wishing I had never had sex with anyone and I feel so terribly scared.

I'll write tomorrow and let you guys know how it went.  Your collective thoughts for me and anyone going through this are appreciated!

Sincerely,
-Jeffrey
Jeffrey H.

Offline studiomdd

  • Member
  • Posts: 21
Re: Needing advice on getting tested.
« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2006, 05:29:46 PM »
i expect a negative result

good luck my friend.

Offline Ronnie99

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  • Posts: 39
Re: Needing advice on getting tested.
« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2006, 07:59:02 PM »
Getting the results back on your first HIV test when you are also not feeling well is tough. I had to call in to get my results and I was almost a nervous wreck by the time I finally called. All worked out ok in the end though and I hope it does for you too!

Offline jeffreyh

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Re: Needing advice on getting tested.
« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2006, 09:31:31 AM »
Well, I went to the Doc's with my friend (who happens to be positive) and the Doctor told me right away that it was NEGATIVE.  I couldn't believe it.  I was stunned.  I thought for sure that my number was up this time with how rotten I had been feeling for the past several months. In fact, he told me that all my other labs were fine too and that I was in excellent health.  Well, this was almost too much to hear (starting to think hypochondriac right about now  ;)

I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for all your support and advice.  The concept and power of these forums cannot be underestimated!!  You guys are WONDERFUL.  Please continue to do the good work you are doing.  Offering comfort to those in need is a powerful thing.

Believe it or not, I'm considering going into the ASO counseling field as I am a LCSW in the state of Texas.  I know a lot about HIV and believe that I would be of benefit to those at risk of becoming infected or who already are.  It's amazing how one can help others so well but not too often oneself.  I along with the rest of the world can't wait till we find a cure for this disease!  It is exciting to keep up on all the lastest treatments which are pretty impressive-Prezista, Atripla to name a few.  I have many friends who are positive and most have remained "undetectable" for over 5 years now.  Just imagine where treatment will be in the next five years, especially with that 30 billion Warren Buffet gave to the Gates foundation (which is a leader in HIV vaccine and treatment technology).  Never thought I would say it, but thank God for compassionate rich people!!!

Again, thank all of you for your incredible support.  Hope everyone has a wonderful experience in AMG-Montreal!!!!
Sincerely,
-Jeffrey
Jeffrey H.

Offline Ann

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    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Needing advice on getting tested.
« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2006, 06:35:19 AM »
Jeffrey,

That's good news indeed and it just goes to show that feelings aren't facts. Being a gay man does not have to mean that infection is inevitable. As long as you make sure condoms are being used - and used correctly - for intercourse, you should continue to avoid hiv infection.

You mention that you're considering working for an ASO and I'd just like to say that perhaps your efforts would best serve your community if you concentrated on prevention education. Prevention/condom education is the only way we are going to slow this pandemic down. Knowledge is power - knowledge saves lives.

And please, for your own safety, make sure you are getting some support surrounding that whole bi-polar/alcohol use thing. Good luck and take care... and use those condoms!

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline jeffreyh

  • Member
  • Posts: 16
Re: Needing advice on getting tested.
« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2006, 09:43:43 AM »
I think your man is one damn lucky dude!

Thanks for all the support.  Your right, prevention education is key!
Jeffrey H.

 


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