HIV Transmission and Testing > Am I Infected?

Several Low-Risk scenarios = High Risk?

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absger:
Dear members,

I really don't know what to do anymore, so I really rely on you guy's for now. As long as I remember I have this fear of HIV, and other illnesses, but HIV in particular.

I waited 10 years, 10 years in total anxiety until i got my first test done (last year). Both (quick and blop) were negative.  I felt like i was "reborn". I had to do those tests, because I was taking a job in a country where this kind of testing is mandatory, each year.

So here is the problem. I have to take those tests again, in 4 months. I can't think of anything else, because if i turn out to be positive i will loose my job and get deported. My current life is perfect, i have a great job, wonderful friends, a good salary - yet this thought of loosing all of this makes me go crazy. Really crazy. I stopped going out, meeting with people, I lost weight, i stopped eating healthy which resulted in 3 flue-like illnesses in the last 2 months. I am starting to think what I will do with my life and the things i think of aren't very nice - I would go totally insane and do something stupid.

All my life, all I wanted was meet somebody, love her and have a family. If this suddenly becomes impossible I won't have real reason to life anymore. And of course the personal "shame" afterwards, if you tell somebody you're positive.

All those thoughts and fears affect my life very seriously, my job is suffering, people ask me what's going on with me - I am in this constant depression. I am about to ruin my life, and I don't know how to stop it. I am seeing references to HIV everywhere, movies, songs -  things that have nothing to do with it. Kinda like "messages" or constant "reminders" pushing my fear further.

I made the big mistake of having sex with 5 girls, 3 of them were girls i met the same night and we had sex. I am paranoid about protection, so I always used a condom for the intercourse, but we had unprotected oral sex (both ways), on some occasions my penis touched the vagina of two girls (unprotected) and there is this one moment where on of the girls "sat down" on me after giving me oral sex, where I again didn't had a condom on. I'm not sure if I was inside her because everything was so wet, but I am almost sure I wasn't. That moment lasted for 1-2 seconds, then I pushed her away and put a condom on. I am circumcised. On two occasions i did perform oral sex while the girls were on there period (yet, only the top, with A LOT of my own saliva). My mouth hygiene isn't the best, I have bleeding gums, and other tooth-related problems. I can say for sure that 4 of those 5 girls never had a test done, because "it's not common" in this country here, and they told me "they're perfectly healthy". I am saying this because if infected, they won't be on medication, what as far as I understand would make a possible transmission easier.

I read everything, everywhere, I even looked up all those HIV "denier" groups, really - I spend months on researching the subject, possible virus transmission scenarios and so on. Right now, I don't know what to think. I know that in my case "the risk is very very low", yet different people say different things. It makes me crazy.

My biggest fear is a false-positive result based on my psychological condition, because this condition is really tackling my immune system all the time. We all heard of those stories where people "suddenly got ill, or cured" because of the way they think - I know it sounds crazy, but there are many cases. Something else I am thinking of is the quality of the condoms, I am in Asia. Everything is made locally.
When I talked to those girls about my fears they told me I am paranoid, one of hem even accused me that "I have something" because I've been "overprotective".

I am currently lying with fever in my bed, and I really need someone to talk to, or at least someone to help me get out of this condition. I don't have people here that I can talk to about those things. I can't do a test in a hospital, because there are no anonymous tests here, and a positive test will mean that i have to leave the country within 10 days. I can get a quick-test and do it privately, but a positive result, wherever its true or false will "kill me". So at this point, I really don't know what to do, or how to do it.

Whoever answers, please take this topic seriously. I know that all you doctors/members are tired of answering all those questions again and again, yet right now i really need your help.







Andy Velez:
OK, you need to take some nice deep and slow breaths right now .... I mean it, and stop with all the drama.

Nothing you have reported of your activities suggests that you have been at risk for HIV. You've used condoms for intercourse. They provide very effective protection.

Doubts and fears are not facts. None of the facts you are reporting suggest that you were at risk. And yes, I have noted the incident where you are uncertain whether you briefly dipped in or not. That's all about fear and doubt and nothing factual.

If you can't have sex without becoming super anxious then I suggest you see a therapist or other professional to talk about the situation. I don't see any reason to doubt that you will continue to test negative. And for you to worry that your excessive worrying may cause a false positive is just further evidence of how irrational your thinking is at this point about HIV.

Get yourself some help if you need it. We can't provide that in this setting. All we can say is you have not had a risk. Get on with your life.

absger:
Dear Andy,

thank you for taking your time not only answering to my case, but also to all the other cases. I admire that, seriously.

I decided to get tested next week when an 8-week window closes and just face my (as you already stated -- unconditioned) fear again.

Yet then I am thinking what to do next? It is the guilt that is messing with my mind. The guilt of having "casual" sex. I would lie if I said that I don't like it. Yet I regret it, 5 minutes after I finish, in the shower. All I can think of is guilt. Concerning the girl, concerning my own "moral" aspects, and so on.

After my last HIV test i promised my self (and god) that I would never "put my life on risk again" , ... new country, new lifestyle over 100 acts with 5 different women. Then I start to think again with my real head, and all i feel is guilt. Even though I am paranoid about protection and I protect myself - why the guilt? As if someone punishes you each time you had some fun, just like a hangover that results in a flu lasting a week.

How can I solve this problem? Become monogamous, in China? Difficult. Stop having sex as a foreigner here - very difficult. I am the only nutcase with that thinking? Getting deported and treated like a terrorist if my annual mandatory screening goes "wrong".

Abstinence in my case?

Ann:
Abs,

We cannot help you with your morality worries. All I can tell you is that sex is a normal, natural human urge and provided you use a condom for anal or vaginal intercourse, giving in to that urge is not going to result in hiv infection.

Hiv isn't a punishment - it's a virus that is transmitted in very specific ways. Sexually speaking, that means unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse. And that's it.

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.

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. Some of the other STIs can be present with no obvious symptoms, so the only way to know for sure is to test.

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

Ann

absger:
Thanks both of you for your answers. I decided to confront my (as you both said - irrational) fear and of course I am expecting a negative result. Yet due to the special circumstances in the country I am currently residing, I have to order a home kit, because testing in a hospital is not anonymous.

I ordered several test kits, displayed on this webpage:
http://www.123hiv.com/aidsshizhi8.html

As far as I understand, its a a kit including traditional "finger pick" tests and oral swap tests. Do you have any information regarding the quality of those tests displayed on the webpage? It was the only page available here, that provided such tests.

I am currently on antibiotics, treating a bronchitis, but as far as I researched that won't interfere with my results, correct?

I still have that constant fear. I talked to a doctor today, english speaking one about my fear. He didn't say anything but it was clear that he didn't believe me much when I told him that I always use a condom. My fear just doesn't make sense. Then I talked to this gay friend who is a business partner, who started telling me how condoms don't protect every time, that "i live only once" so i should life my life good. I know that condoms protect, yet I seriously worry about the quality. Then I read about this guy on the "Infected" forum, who claims that a possible oral event has made him positive.

I know that many other people are reading this topic too. That's why I share my anxiety, maybe it helps somebody seeing that he or she isn't facing those fears alone.

I have a bad feeling about those home-test-kits i ordered, and i am almost sure that a negative traditional blood-test will make me a lot more relaxed. What do you think? If my case is really such a (almost) non-risk event, should I just take the non-anonymous blood test (I can do ELIZA and WB here) and "risking" deportation IF i am one of the "very very rare cases"? I seriously need some push from you guys to make a decision. I can't face this alone, since this forum is the only real support I currently have.

Please get back to me.

PS: Thanks for all the wonderful work you do here (!)

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