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Author Topic: Can you help?  (Read 794 times)

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Offline friendly marmoset

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Can you help?
« on: April 03, 2012, 05:27:59 PM »
Hello, I am hoping you can give me some advice because, although I'm pretty sure I already know what you're going to say, I think it will help me to put this idea out of my mind once and for all if I get a straight answer from someone knowledgeable.

My risk was a broken condom during vaginal sex with a Spanish man last June. I asked him if there was anything to be worried about and he assured me he was fine, although a couple of weeks later I discovered he'd never been tested (cannot understand people like that!!). I went to the sexual health clinic for a full screen at 2 weeks, which was fine, and tried to put it to the back of my mind until the 12 week window period was up - the nurses told me a single incident like this was low risk, although I don't know anything about the guy's history.

So I went along at 12 weeks - it was negative :) And I was reassured for, oh, a whole day before I heard something on the radio about how you have to wait a year after a risk before you can donate blood (in the UK at least). That is where my madness began. Why wait a year, if you're in the clear after 12 weeks? I asked myself.

I had been ill just a few days after this incident with a raging sore throat that didn't respond to painkillers, fever and swollen glands in my neck. That first illness cleared up after about a week and a half but a week later I was ill again. I had night sweats that continued up until Christmas and the sore throat waxed and waned, never getting completely better before another flare-up. I was already slightly underweight before any of this but I lost a couple more kilos and now look bony and hideous.

At the clinic they told me my result was conclusive, and I wanted to believe them, but now the idea that I would have to wait a year to be really sure was in my head, I knew I was going to have problems. I went back to the clinic at 6 months and they actually didn't want to test me again. They said they see people who are really infected with HIV all the time and told me they were not worried about me, there was no reason for me to take another test and it would probably only exacerbate my anxiety.

So instead of listening to the nurses like a good patient, I snuck off to my family doctor and had the test done there. Guess what - it was negative. My glands were still swollen and they ordered a test for mono, which was also negative. This time, although I was still concerned there was some issue with my antibodies, which I know would be completely nonsensical if the illness I had in June/July was HIV related, I decided I would have to at least pretend to believe I didn't have HIV. Did I mention I also got tested for Hep B and C in November in case that could have been interfering with the results. That was negative.

After Christmas I got a new boyfriend and in the spirit of believing what the doctor told me, didn't immediately tell him all about this disastrous encounter with the Spaniard. But obviously we use condoms. Anyway a few weeks later he gets sick and my craziness takes on a new lease of life. Not only was I right about having HIV against all medical expectation, I had now passed it on to this sweet innocent boy! So I was battling this insanity, until one day I drank too much and ended up in hospital (not because I was trying to block out the guilt, at least I don't think so  :-\ ) AND they go and give me a print out of my CBC.

So what, you ask, and rightly. Well, it turns out my lymphocytes have dropped from making up around 25% of my white blood cells last November, to being only 9%. Like any good hypochondriac I go straight to Google to discover the implications of this horrible news. Apparently, a low lymphocyte count can be related to leukemia, HIV or some other autoimmune problem. I'm going to my doctor in a couple of days to get this looked into, because although I am not good at maths I figure the 9% of my overall-high WBC of 13,100 = around 1,200 lymphocytes and anything lower the 1,500 is considered 'not enough'. Given my previous negative test results, this can't have anything to do with HIV, right?


Offline friendly marmoset

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Re: Can you help?
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2012, 05:56:24 PM »
Not only was I right about having HIV against all medical expectation, I had now passed it on to this sweet innocent boy!

Just thought I should make it clear that this is what was going on in my head, and that neither I nor my boy have tested positive for HIV... yet  :-\

Offline Ann

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  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Can you help?
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2012, 07:29:28 AM »
Friendly,

You are without doubt hiv negative. You do not have hiv.

The thing you heard on the radio about needing to test out to a year is just ignorance on the part of whoever said it. The window period for hiv testing has been three months for quite a few years now. The one year thing you heard about regarding blood donation is also something that is outdated and ignorant.

The illness that some people experience when newly infected with hiv is not due to the virus itself. It is due to the process the body goes through while producing antibodies. When producing antibodies, the body manufactures several different chemicals. One of them is called interferon and interferon is notorious for making people have flu-like symptoms - fevers, aches, sore throats etc.

I'm telling you this because if the illness you experienced had anything to do with hiv, you most definitely would have tested hiv positive. You did NOT test hiv positive - because you do NOT have hiv.

If you continue to feel unwell, work with your doctor to find out what is going on. You have already ruled hiv out - you do not have hiv.

You are wise to be using condoms with your current boyfriend. Condoms have been proven to prevent hiv infection. There have been three long-term studies of couples where one is positive and one is negative. In the couples who used condoms for anal or vaginal intercourse, but no barrier for oral activities, not one of the negative partners became infected with hiv. Not one.

You should continue to use condoms with him until you have both been tested together. While you could not possibly have given him hiv - because you do NOT have hiv - you do not know if he has hiv from some other source.

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 OVER THE CONDOM BREAK WITH "THE SPANIARD", 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

« Last Edit: April 04, 2012, 07:31:00 AM by Ann »
Condoms are a girl's best friend

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"...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 friendly marmoset

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  • Posts: 3
Re: Can you help?
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2012, 03:06:20 AM »
Hi Ann, thanks very much for your advice. I'm going to see my doctor this afternoon and while I am worried about the reason for my low lymphocyte count, it does help to know that it can't be HIV and that I haven't infected my boyfriend. Thanks again, I really appreciate you taking the time to help me  :)

Offline Ann

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  • Member
  • Posts: 28,140
  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Can you help?
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2012, 06:12:36 AM »
Friendly,

You're welcome.

It's always best to go see your doctor if anything is bothering or worrying you about your health. While the internet can be a great source of information, it can also be a great source of MISinformation as well. Only seeing a doctor face-to-face will provide you with a diagnosis. Nobody can diagnose anyone over the internet.

Please remember to get yearly, routine sexual health check-ups. Think of it like having regular dental check-ups - it may not be the most pleasant way to spend an hour and you may not have a toothache, but you go anyway. As a woman, you should be getting PAP smears every couple years as well - and that would be a great time to get a complete STI screen. Talk to your doctor or gynecologist about this.

And keep using those condoms with your boyfriend (or anyone) until you're securely monogamous and have both had complete sexual health check-ups and have gotten an all-clear. Do this and you will remain hiv negative.

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

 


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