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Author Topic: the time is now.. hey guys  (Read 1038 times)

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Offline theprodigalson

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the time is now.. hey guys
« on: March 02, 2013, 07:09:24 PM »
Hello, poz community! In the three long months I have been lurking these forums, Iíve come to learn that you all are among the most strong and beautiful people in the world. Itís really hard to express how grateful I am to have found you. Many people in my community have only limited access to internet, and if they do, do not know how to access legitimate information resources like the CDC or support networks like POZ forums. With that being said, I thank you eternally, and will now begin my story.

I intended to write a long-winded explanation of my life and why it has led me to these forums, but I realized half-way that this particular forum is in place merely to assess the physical risk of exposure to HIV, not the underlying psychology behind it. If I end up positive, then I will write my story. Until then, letís not waste your time.
 
About three months ago, I had unprotected anal and receptive intercourse with a male I had met online. Dumb? Yes. Do I regret it? HELL YES. Will I ever take my sexuality for granted again? Positive or not, I will NEVER EVER AGAIN TAKE MY SEXUALITY FOR GRANTED. Anyway, there was also oral sex, but I understand from the CDC and these forums that oral sex is a nearly zero risk activity. As far as the sex, the person did not cum in me, and although I know that not ejaculating significantly reduces risk, receptive anal sex by its very nature is high risk. Iím not fooling myself on that one.

About a week after the encounter, I began thinking about what I had done (Iím bisexual, and donít normally hook up with guys), and I started to freak out about the possibility of having HIV or other STD. Please excuse my prior ignorance.  I now understand that HIV affects peoples of all color, sex, and orientation. But the statistics also show that ďLatino gay and bisexual malesĒ are among the most affected by HIV, and I fit the bill, as I am a closet latino bisexual living in the city of LA. OH GREAT. And thus, the hypochondria began.
 
I immediately got tested at Out of the Closet in Hollywood, but was told that I would have to wait until after ďthe window periodĒ in order for any HIV test to be conclusive. During these last three months, Iíve internalized all my fear and guilt (because I havenít told anybody about my situation), to the point where I have begun to have daily panic attacks, chest pain, abdominal pain, and headaches. I slept whenever I could during the first few months, and can only pinpoint two days during that time when I feel I may have felt the symptoms of seroconversion. Even then, it was only fatigue, mild nausea, and headaches, which may have all been a result of the anxiety and guilt. I did not have a wet cough or swollen lymph nodes or any rash.  I know in the end that all my-self diagnoses will be fruitless until I get tested. SoÖ 
 
These are my questions:
(a)   Unfortunately, during this time I have been dealing with a body lice issue that did affect others in my circle. I have read from CDC and other sites that body lice, crabs, or bedbugs cannot act as a vector for HIV disease, but I was unable to find concrete evidence of study. In my head, Iím thinking like Hawking (ďif time travel were possible, how come we donít have tourists?Ē) and telling myself that if mosquitos, bed bugs, or lice could transmit HIV, weíd have a much more terrible epidemic on our hands (if that is even possible). Anyway, if you all can help me find any links to studies on this matter, it would really ease my mind.  I have since ended the infestation, but I am dead worried about the health of others around me.

(b)   I am going to get tested this week, as I feel that spring break would be the best time to begin the recovery process if I am diagnosed positive.  And yet, I havenít told anyone. I may not sound as hysterical as others I have read on this site, partly because I have internalized everything, and partly because I know in my heart that I need to be strong. In reality, Iím losing my fucking mind. I donít know if I should bring a friend or my parents with me to the doctorís, or if I should go alone. I donít know what I would do immediately after finding out Iím positive. Does anybody have any suggestions, stories, advice?
Thanks guys, all of your answers will mean lots. 

Offline RapidRod

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Re: the time is now.. hey guys
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2013, 07:26:13 PM »
I'm sorry for my first reply. You did have an exposure by having unprotected anal sex. HIV is transmitted by;
Unprotected penetrative anal and/or vaginal sex
Sharing works with other IV drug users
Mother to child

HIV is not transmitted by bug bites of any sort. Your 3 month post exposure test will be conclusive.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2013, 07:49:49 PM by RapidRod »

Offline Ann

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  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: the time is now.. hey guys
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2013, 07:43:59 AM »
Son,

a) It's been well-known from the early days of the pandemic that skeeters and other insects cannot act as hiv transmission vectors. While I'm not going to dig up decades-old studies on the subject, I can tell you why insects are not transmission vectors.

Hiv is a fragile, difficult to transmit virus that is primarily transmitted INSIDE the human body. Once outside the body, small changes in temperature, and pH and moisture levels all quickly damage the virus and render it unable to infect. Any insects that suck human blood for a living have digestive fluids present in their mouth-parts - and those digestive fluids are NOT hiv friendly.

For these reasons, any blood that may be in or on the mouth-parts of an insect is not going to contain viable hiv. While some pathogens can be transmitted by insects, thankfully hiv is not amongst them. If it were even remotely possible, believe me, the ultra-conservative (when it comes to hiv transmission vectors) CDC would be shouting it from the roof-tops.

b) Well, it's a shame that you didn't register and ask a few questions earlier when you first found this forum. If you had, we would have recommended that you test at six weeks for peace of mind.

The vast majority of people who have actually been infected will seroconvert at six weeks, with the average time to seroconversion being only 22 days. A six week negative is highly unlikely to change, but must be confirmed at the three month point. You could have very likely put your mind at ease (by testing negative) at six weeks.

As for taking someone with you, I'd recommend taking a friend rather than taking a parent. I'd also recommend that you encourage the friend you take to also get tested, because any sexually active adult should be testing at least once a year (we all know what goes on at college!).

You have a very good chance of coming out of this hiv negative, given that it was a one-off and he didn't ejaculate inside you. Yes, you're correct in your assessment that you were at risk, but in this case the odds are in your favour.

One thing I'd like to point out - in case it hasn't occurred to you - if you don't always use condoms when you're the insertive partner with women (or men), then you've already been at risk. Getting tested is the smartest thing you can do all-round. Men who have sex with women - "tops" in general - are also at risk when having unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse.

You alluded to underlying psychological reasons behind the choices you made that landed you here on these forums. While you're correct in thinking that this section of the forums isn't the appropriate place for that discussion, I urge you to keep exploring those underlying reasons and avail yourself of a good counsellor to work through the issues that arise. Many college campuses have counselling services available, so try that avenue. If nothing else, they may be able to refer you to someone who can work with you.

We often have discussions in the other parts of the forum about the rising rates of hiv infection and the reasons behind them. It's not a black-and-white issue by any means and people end up barebacking - despite knowing the risks - for many, many reasons. These reasons often have their roots in mental health issues, such as low self-esteem and self-medicating with alcohol and/or drugs to alleviate symptoms of depression and negative feelings of self-worth.  You seem to have identified something along those lines and please, please pursue this line of thinking with a professional.

If you do test positive (I really don't expect you to, but it's possible), the first thing you need to do is to make sure the positive result is confirmed with further testing. In the case of a positive rapid test result, blood should be taken for a second antibody test, along with a Western Blot test taken from the same sample. You cannot be diagnosed as hiv positive following only a positive rapid result, or even one single positive result on a blood draw. This follow-up testing is imperative. False positive result can and do happen.

When, and only when, the initial positive result is confirmed, then the first thing you should do is find an hiv specialist. The testing center you go to should have this kind of information available.

But let's not put the cart before the horse. Get that testing done first. As you are testing at three months past the incident, a negative result is conclusive. It's only a positive result that will need further confirmatory testing.

I know this is already long, but I'm going to also give you my standard spiel on hiv prevention. Pass it on to your friends, because they need to know this stuff too.

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!

Good luck with the testing. Please be aware that you only have two free posts left - use them wisely.

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

 


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