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Author Topic: Really, really scared...  (Read 2420 times)

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Offline myos

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Really, really scared...
« on: October 02, 2007, 12:03:16 PM »
Hello, all -- I realize that many of the questions asked here get duplicated quite often, so I'm sorry about that. I am. But I'm really, really scared now, and felt like I needed to post something.

About 7 weeks ago, I was at a bachelor party and received an unprotected blowjob from one of the strippers. I realize that is no risk. My real area of concern stems from the fact that I was drunk, and whether or not my mind is playing tricks on me, I'm still quite frightened and would really love to hear some reassurance. There was a relatively brief vaginal exposure, but I distinctly remember the CSW kneeling down to put the condom on me, so I'm reasonably certain that it was on. I'm now scared, though, that it fell off, or broken, or was put on improperly. In any event, my exposure was brief, perhaps 5 minutes, likely less, if the sex was unprotected. For these purposes, I'm going to assume the worst and say she was HIV infected (though I don't know for a fact that she was) and that the condom slipped off or was otherwise defective for any reason.

Swollen lymph nodes. Of course, my fears were raised when I read a few posts from positive people here who say that they noticed swollen lymph nodes. Great. I have them, in my groin (referred to as shotty), one under my left armpit, and two larger ones on both sides of my neck that have gone down SUBSTANTIALLY since they appeared, about two weeks after exposure. I have been reading, extensively, on the six-week reliability of modern ELISA tests -- I got mine at Quest Diagnostics, and have been told that it's third-generation. Exposure was Aug. 11 at around midnight -- I got the six-week test on Sept. 24. That is six weeks, correct?

Do I have it? And more importantly, do swollen lymph nodes in the neck -- caused by HIV -- recede *without* treatment or only with it?

Thanks very much, all...

Offline RapidRod

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Re: Really, really scared...
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2007, 12:38:22 PM »
If you were that drunk that you can't remember then I doubt that you could maintain an erection to have intercourse. On the safe side to relieve your anxieties get tested at 13 weeks post your last possible exposure.

Online Ann

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    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Really, really scared...
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2007, 12:54:44 PM »
myos,

You don't say, but I'm assuming your six week test was negative. If this is correct, then it is unlikely to change when you get your confirmation. The vast majority of people who have actually been infected will seroconvert and test positive by six weeks, although a six week negative MUST be confirmed at three months.

Leave your lymph nodes alone as touching them all the time to see if they're swollen can actually cause them to swell. Any infection in your body can cause lymph nodes to swell, not just hiv. Symptoms or even the lack of symptoms means nothing when it comes to hiv infection. ONLY testing will reliably reveal your hiv status.

If your nodes continue to bother you, show them to your doctor.

I fully expecting you to continue testing negative after what was more than likely a no risk situation. Please remember that the sex worker put a condom on you to protect HER, not you. As she is the one who put the condom on you, she would not have allowed you to penetrate her without one. She was protecting HERSELF from YOU.

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 myos

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Re: Really, really scared...
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2007, 01:09:20 PM »
Thanks very much for the quick response (BTW, yes, the 6-week test result was negative -- apologies that I omitted that factoid). I believe that the entire scenario does seem low-risk, based on the volumes of HIV-related material that I've read through over the past several weeks, and that my 6-week is plenty reassuring. And RapidRod, that statement about maintaining erect is an extremely good and comforting point. It would actually be swell if I had some kind of magical remote control that I could use to play back the incident to confirm whether or not I was even at risk, but because I'm very much a pessimist, it's tough to look on the sunnier side of things.

The nodes are improving -- the only thing that concerns me is that I specifically asked my doctor if touching them could cause them to swell, and she pointedly said "no." Luckily for my sanity, I have reason to doubt her informed opinion (considering she actually told me I should test out to six months for HIV, not three, which contradicted a lot of what I knew). She did examine the nodes and said the groin ones were shotty, she wasn't sure about the armpit ones, and wasn't sure about the neck ones (even though I repeatedly told her that I had an eye infection that could have caused it, which is what another doctor said). The shotty nodes, as well as the neck ones, showed up on a CT scan, but nothing was detected in my chest (where I understand there are lotsa lymph nodes in the chest, so maybe that is encouraging).

For personal reasons, I won't have accessbiliity to testing facilities at the 13th week, which sucks. The latest I can do is about 11.5 weeks -- I understand that'll be pretty reassuring/conclusive, too.

Thanks in advance for your comments -- I feel a tad better...



Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Really, really scared...
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2007, 03:23:32 PM »
A negative test is not a "factoid." It's a fact, an actual result. And as Ann has pointed out, when you have tested negative at 6 weeks the likelihood that you will continue to test negative is very great. So no matter what symptoms you are having for whatever reason, to me they are not pointing towards HIV as the cause.
Andy Velez

Offline myos

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Re: Really, really scared...
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2007, 03:45:15 PM »
Yikes -- I just looked up the definition of the word "factoid" and realized that it was not, as I initially thought, a synonym for the word "fact." Seriously. I apologize for that. I was just trying to be witty during a time when it's really hard to focus on anything else. I'm just freaked...and yes, I know that many, many people on this forum are freaked. The circumstances and time period under which this happened are, to put it lightly, not good at all, and I'm really trying to take all the reassurance I can get. Counseling might help, but my insurance doesn't cover it.

And honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if I were one of the few rare exceptions to test positive after 6 weeks, you know? I did something incredibly wrong, and this would be my punishment. And I'd take it, because I screwed up pretty badly, and this has the potential to ruin other people's lives, too. It's not like I wouldn't be able to live with it -- I'd try my best, and would probably be okay. But I wouldn't be the only person impacted by this. And I think that's what hurts me the most.

Sorry if I offended anyone with the factoid thing. I seriously didn't know what the word meant.

Thanks for your input, Andy.

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Really, really scared...
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2007, 04:14:25 PM »
HIV is not a punishment. It is a virus.

People with HIV are not being punished. People with HIV are infected with a virus.

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline myos

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Re: Really, really scared...
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2007, 04:20:45 PM »
Look, I can't keep apologizing every time I make a slip of the keyboard and mistakenly offend someone. I know it's not a punishment for people in general, okay? I'm saying it'd be a punishment from some higher power against ME for cheating. Me specifically. No one else. Not a single other poster on this board. JUST ME. I am referring only to me. Period. It would be a punishment handed down TO ME for all of the bad things I've done.

I'm freaking scared and terrified here and all people can do is read into my words as if I'm saying HIV is a punishment to all of the people who are infected with it. I'm in abject terror because I think I HAVE COMPLETELY DESTROYED MY LIFE AND MY PARTNER'S LIFE. I'm humbly sorry if I offended anyone, seriously, and I'm not TRYING to. I have a WEDDING to look forward to, and by the way, would you like to know when the date of the wedding is? EXACTLY THREE MONTHS, TO THE DAY, FROM THE EXPOSURE.

Do you understand, now, why it would make complete and utter sense that it WOULD be a punishment if some higher power were disappointed in me?

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Really, really scared...
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2007, 04:29:03 PM »
Hey, you didn't offend me with the use of the term "factoid." I was only pointing out that you weren't acknowledging how good testing negative at 6 weeks is. The average time to seroconversion is 22 days. All but the smallest number of those who are going to seroconvert will do so within 4-6 weeks after a risky incident. So your 6 weeks negative is neither a factoid nor chopped liver. It's a very happy result.

You're so busy torturing yourself and wringing yourself out with remorse and guilt that you're not smelling the roses, buddy.  Stay productively busy during your waiting period and you will be amazed at how quickly the time will pass. No kidding. 

At the end of the day and your waiting period my expectation is that you will test negative.

Andy Velez

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Really, really scared...
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2007, 04:31:04 PM »
Myos,

You have to understand that your use of terms like "punishment" adds an an aspect of drama and value-judgment to this discussion that is wholly unnecessary. In fact it tends to make it more difficult to discuss the plain facts when they're cast in terms of HIV being the revenge of an Old Testament god an feckless sinners.

It's not, it's just a virus. Now get over it and re-read the learned advice you've given.

MtD

Offline myos

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Re: Really, really scared...
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2007, 04:36:45 PM »
Matty --

Fair enough, and my right brain understands exactly what you're saying. My left brain is crapping its pants right now. And yeah, it might be a little disingenuous on my part to start throwing spirituality and punishments from God into the mix, but my irrational side tells me that it's far too convenient that the only time I can really be reassured of my status is the day when I marry the woman that I truly, truly love. That being said, yeah, I am being irrational, I've read the facts (ad nauseaum, actually) and deep down in my heart of hearts I do realize that my six-week test results look really, really good. Heck, I've been told by a specialist at the free STD clinic I went to (who deals with this stuff regularly, from what I understand) that one *month* is actually fairly solid, 6 weeks even moreso.

I think it all boils down to me trying to live with my mistake.

Sorry I exploded like that. And I didn't mean to cast value judgments. I was just talking about my own specific case -- seriously.

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Really, really scared...
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2007, 04:51:19 PM »
Indeed Myos. Your views about the morality of "your mistake" are one thing and you will have to deal with those yourself. The likelihood of you having contracted HIV is most unlikely and has nothing to do with how naughty a boy you may have been.

For the record, I agree with the others. I expect that you will continue to test negative.

MtD

Offline myos

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Re: Really, really scared...
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2007, 09:05:00 PM »
Matty, I hear what you're saying, dude. I always used to think that my mind was, you know, too powerful to be affected by things like anxiety and stress, that my brain was just so darn strong that I could absolutely handle anything and get through anything without batting an eye. I was about 672,282% wrong on that. Anxiety is freaking horrible. Awful. I hate it.

It's really a lot more difficult for me to tell myself "I probably -- in fact, most likely -- did not contract the virus" than I ever thought it would be. Like RapidRod (who strikes me as strangely familiar -- perhaps I knew him from a different message board/website somewhere? Hi, dude, good to see you, if you're who I think you are) said, the 13-week test will probably do wonders for anxiety relief. All I'm hoping is that I don't become the kind of dude who keeps coming back here with bizarre what-if scenarios, like I'm a late 6-month seroconverter or something. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that when my 3-month negative result comes in, which it will, that I'll accept that, move on, and learn from it. Hopefully making fewer stupid decisions in my life.

You guys are pretty awesome. I'm sure you've heard that before, but I thought I'd reiterate it anyway. Never hurts.

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Really, really scared...
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2007, 09:45:42 PM »
Hey Myos,

You don't have to worry too much about coming back and fretting further after collecting the negative test we are anticipating.

We only allow just so much of that before worriers get timed out. Although it is better if you can exercise some self control and call it quits after you test negative.

Cheers,   
Andy Velez

 


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