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Author Topic: Can't stop worrying!  (Read 1176 times)

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Offline Craig1878

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  • Posts: 4
Can't stop worrying!
« on: December 06, 2011, 07:40:57 AM »
 Hi All,

First may I say that the work you do on this site is fantastic and I am sure it provides a huge amout of reassurance to many ppl, myself included. Secondly may I apologise for the potential rambling nature of this post! I will try to be as succinct as possible.

I have a long term girlfriend of 4 years. Around 6 months ago I (stupidly) had unprotected vaginal intercourse with a girl who I had recently become friends with (21yo Caucasian from Sweden) I have been told that this is low risk. 

She had told me on numerous occasions that she had just come out of a long term relationship (I am confident this is true) and had not had sex for 6 months (I have begun to question this). We slept together twice, on consecutive nights before she returned home from her working vacation.

As is the usual story I felt some anxiety/guilt after these events and I had also experienced some discomfort at the tip of my penis, and so around 2-3 weeks later was tested at the GUM clinic for everything (including HIV 3rd and 4th Generation HIV tests - this is relevant later). Despite being treated for a potential NSU (the nurse found some inflammation) all my results returned negative. I therefore informed my girlfriend of the NSU as we had had unprotected sex since the event (again extremely reckless and stupid and I did not tell her the potential reason for it and obviously this was awkward), she was treated also and I tried to forget about the whole event.

Around 5-6 weeks after the event I noticed a small flesh coloured lump on the tip of my penis which had not been there previously. I was concerned this may be a wart and so monitored this for a couple of weeks before visiting a different GUM clinic for their opinion. I was told this was just a skin tag and not to worry - however while I was there I also tested again for HIV as I had been advised my original test would not be completely accurate when it was taken. This test was a simple antibody test and returned negative again (at 8 weeks after the event).

I was told on receiving this result that I would need to be tested again around the 3 month mark to completely rule out HIV. I also began to experience a variety of symptoms which have caused me to continue to be concerned about HIV.

Around the 7.5 week mark (a few days prioir to the 8 week test) I began to experience pain at the base of my neck and some raised painless non-itchy red spots appeared on my legs and arms.
This general neck/upper back pain continued in varying levels through to around the 12 week mark. In week 11 my neck was so stiff that I could not straighten my head up or look fully to the left for a few days before calming down again. The red spots have also continued through - I actually still have a few of these on my shoulders. I experienced them almost everywhere but predominately on my neck, shoulders and chest - but also on the soles of my feet?! (I do not want to give the impression this is too severe, but I would say I have seen alot of spots in this time which have stayed for a couple of days at a time, then disappeared)
I do not believe I have had a fever however I have had one instance of night sweats (soaking my sheets through) in week 12. Also in weeks 11-12 I experienced a sore throat (lasting around 3/4 days) and a severe outbreak of mouth ulcers (I tend to get these sometimes but not as many as this time and not on my tongue as in this case - these also disappeared all at once after a few days). Finally I also bave had swollen glands in my neck one of which is actually still up now (as mentioned around 6months since the event). I would say I have noticed these since around week 11 (perhaps this has been causing my neck pain?) and they are up and down and still feel a little large now. I have not noticed any swelling of note in my armpits or groin.

Clearly this caused me a great deal of concern and so I was not really sleeping properly for around 6 weeks and was extremely anxious. I have therefore as far as possible tried to attribute the symptoms to the lack of sleep and stress. Further I did not have my usual appetite and lost around 5 lbs, which I have since put back on (with interest!). I still find myself very fatigued at times even now, but as much as possible am hoping I have perceived some things which are not there. However when some symptoms are continuing it is difficult to move on totally. For example as I mentioned I still have a swollen gland in my neck, my stomach is making strange noises all the time and I am still having loose stools. 

Finally I have noticed the tip of my penis is now always red (sort of angry looking) which it was never like before I had sex with this girl, and there is a small bump on my frenulum which is painless normally but becomes very painful and almost lesion-like after I have had sex and has bled a little after sex on one occasion. It will then calm down again and cause no pain at other times. A couple of the gum clinics have looked a this and told me that i shouldn't worry and there is nothing there however I obviously know there is!

In addition to this my anxiety has been heightened as my girlfriend has had a flu-like illness (hopefully flu) in this time, has mentioned neck pain, mouth ulcers, tiredness and I have also noticed red spots in similar areas on her body. (You will be glad to know I have been using protection with my gf ever since my concern grew around this but I really fear it may be too late). As recently as last night she was complaining of neck pain and had muscle twinges in bed which were so bad they woke us up. Finally, I have seen that around the same time I began to experience my neck pain the Swedish girl has had Facebook statuses complaining of neck pain and a fever - I have now managed to speak to her over the net and asked if she has been checked out. She tells me she has just had a bad cold and 'everything else is ok'.

Here is the reason for my post. At the 11.5 week mark my symptoms were so severe that i could not wait any longer and went for my 'final' test (at the same clinic where i originally had the HIV test at the 2-3 week mark.) They run a 3rd and 4th Gen test at the same time as I mentioned. 

My results came back around the 14 week mark I was negative for everything (including syphilis) but the 3rd Gen had returned weak reactive while the 4th Gen was negative and so I had to retest. I went in and did the tests again, with the exact same result - weak reactive 3rd Gen and negative 4th Gen. I was told that a a result I could 'be certain' I was HIV negative however both samples would be sent to the reference lab to be checked as protocol. A couple of weeks later, all results (around 5-6 more tests - I do not think a WB was performed just all more 3rd/4th Gen tests) from the lab came back negative and so therefore was told that the 3rd Gen was a false positive. 

As you can imagine the relief was huge, however as I was specifically concerned about HIV for so many weeks and then for me to be one of the few false positives seemed too much of a coincidence - and with all the 'symptoms'' I have had I have found it so difficult to completely move on from this. Also, as this was the same lab that tested me at the 2-3 week mark - why had this test not also reacted at that point if there was something else it was picking up? And if it was a false positive as a result of lab error etc. why would this be repeat weqkly reactive - I believe this is very rare?

I am trying to move on as much as possible and I am moving in with my girlfriend after Xmas, but it is so hard when I can't shake this uncertainty. Since this event I have had another rapid finger prick test at the Royal in Liverpool (this was at the 4 month mark) and this was non-reactive. They told me that I have to close this chapter now but I could not resist having a final test at around the 6 month mark, and so I have done this over the weekend and I expect the results in a couple of weeks. If this is negative I think I can finally have the certainty to move on.

I'm sure you will say I have over reacted and that I should already have enough -ves to move on, but I was just hoping to get your take on what has happened so far? How worried should I have been about that result etc? 

I know that symptoms prove nothing and test results prove everything and I have consulted a doctor about my symptoms in general but after a variety of other tests they are at a loss as to what was/is up with me. Thankfully I am feeling better every day about it but I would really appreciate your advice/support as I wait to get the results of this final final (!) test even though I am guessing you will say it was not required.

Many many thanks in advance for your feedback, it is so appreciated and any information you can provide to help me understand from your experience what has happened would be gratefully received. I am sorry again for the prolonged background and would really appreciate a quick response.

Regards

C

Offline Andy Velez

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  • Posts: 25,425
Re: Can't stop worrying!
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2011, 08:11:16 AM »
C, I expect your next test result to be negative again.

You do need to learn from this experience. Whenever you are having intercourse outside of a monogamous relationship you need to be wearing a condom everytime. No exceptions regardless of what you think you know about the other person's history. A condom is a must.

If you continue to have any troubling symptoms you should discuss them with your doctor. They have nothing to do with HIV.
Andy Velez

Offline Craig1878

  • Member
  • Posts: 4
Re: Can't stop worrying!
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2011, 10:59:31 AM »
Hi Andy,

That message is completely understood. As I mentioned I have been with my girlfriend for many years and this is the first time anything like this has happened. I know how stupid and reckless I have been. Maybe I got a little complacent, I don't know, but there is no excuse. The guilt has been crushing and I have been in quite a dark place when I consider the consequences.

I never plan on this happening again but obviously if it ever does, after this I will take precautions.

Can any of you guys provide your thoughts on my results to date? Does this just seem like a false positive? (I am guessing so with all the negatives I have had) And what should I make of the fact that the same test was negative at 2-3 weeks but weakly reactive at both 11.5 and 14 weeks?

Offline Ann

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  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Can't stop worrying!
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2011, 11:02:08 AM »
Craig,

The GUM at the Royal is an excellent clinic. That's where I go for my hiv care. They were absolutely correct when they told you that you can - and should - close this chapter. Your six month test is going to have the same result as the four month test.

Your previous faint results were false. It happens. The more you test, the more likely you're going to end up with a false result at some time.

You do not have hiv. You are conclusively hiv negative.

As Andy said, you absolutely need to learn from this situation and always use condoms in future. In fact, you should continue to use condoms with your girlfriend until she has ALSO had a complete sexual health check-up.

Here's what you need to know in order to avoid hiv infection:

You need to be using condoms for anal or vaginal intercourse, every time, no exceptions until such time as you are in a securely monogamous relationship where you have both tested for ALL sexually transmitted infections together.

To agree to have unprotected intercourse is to consent to the possibility of being infected with an STI. Sex without a condom lasts only a matter of minutes, but hiv is forever.

Have a look through the condom and lube links in my signature line so you can use condoms with confidence.

ALTHOUGH YOU DO NOT NEED FURTHER TESTING AT THIS TIME, 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.

Use condoms for anal or vaginal intercourse, correctly and consistently, and you will avoid hiv infection. It really is that simple!

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 Craig1878

  • Member
  • Posts: 4
Re: Can't stop worrying!
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2011, 02:47:12 PM »
Thanks so much for coming back to me Ann.

I really really appreciate you taking the time and it is really comforting to know that you rate the Royal so highly.

I have taken on board everything you have both said in relation to safe sex and I will never let myself get into this situation again I can assure you, I still cannot believe how stupid I have been. I wish so much I could take it back.

I will obviously let you know my results and I hope it's ok if I have any questions in the meantime that I bring them to you?

Thanks so much,

C

Offline Ann

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  • Member
  • Posts: 28,140
  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Can't stop worrying!
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2011, 09:21:15 PM »
Craig,

You shouldn't have any further questions about the incident you're worried about.

YOU ARE CONCLUSIVELY HIV NEGATIVE

Get on with your life.

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 Craig1878

  • Member
  • Posts: 4
Re: Can't stop worrying!
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2011, 09:28:55 AM »
OK.

Thank you guys for your help, advice and clarification.

Regards

C

 


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