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Author Topic: Who can I turn to...?  (Read 607 times)

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Offline Sadgirluk

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Who can I turn to...?
« on: July 29, 2013, 07:24:01 AM »
Hi there,

I'm a 25 year old woman living in the UK.

I am honestly at my wit's end and don't know what to do anymore. I have been feeling unwell since March- strange headaches, raised lymph nodes, sinus infections,yeast infections, visual disturbances, neuropathy, fatigue, muscle aches and mouth sores, however, HIV/AIDS has only registered as a possibility for the last month or so.

I have had two CBCs, which have both been completely normal (according to doctor) and I had a sexual health screening where I tested negative for all STDs, including HIV.

I have only ever had two boyfriends and was a veritable virgin until last year. I was with my first boyfriend for nearly five years but I am speaking the honest to god truth when I say we never had penetrative sex. I did have a pregnancy/STD scare at the beginning of the relationship (I was naive and pretty clueless on these subjects, as you can probably tell) and I have a feeling that he may not have been completely honest about his sexual history with me. However, he tested negative for lots of STDs (not specifically for HIV, might I add) and donated blood so being the ridiculously clueless and naive person I so clearly am, I didn't think to get tested myself and put the symptoms I'd been experiencing down to the fact that I wasn't 'used' to sexual contact. I'm now even beginning to think that he might have been lying about the blood donation- although I do remember seeing a letter from the blood donation service in his room.

I have been with my current boyfriend for nearly two years but he's a really innocent guy and I know for a fact he hasn't been with anybody before me (which makes all of this a hundred times worse). I'm also concerned as I've been living with my family for the past five years that I could have unwittingly been walking about with HIV and passed it on to them (embarrassingly enough, my mum often does my laundry and it is possible that she could have come in contact with menstrual blood, etc). I am actually going mad with guilt and think I can see symptoms in all of them. I have not been able to go to work because of this and I don't want to do anything, and still these symptoms persist...

Basically, I think I might be suffering from late-stage HIV infection (with possible opportunistic infections already present- candida and cytomegalovirus) and was wondering a couple of things...

1. I understand that 'seroreversion' is possible in late-stage HIV cases but regardless of symptoms, I'm still able to walk around and haven't lost all of my strength, neither have I lost a dramatic amount of weight. Is this a possibility? Or am I maybe dealing with some bizarre strain of the virus which doesn't show up on the test?

I imagine I will have to go back to the sexual health clinic at some point anyway but if I do, what should I ask them for? Would Western blot/CD4/viral load test be a better indicator if I did so happen to be advanced enough to be antibody-negative? (I believe the test I had was a combined antibody/antigen test).

2. If I was at this late stage, wouldn't something be showing up on the CBC? Like I said I've had two now, and both times the doctors have actually commented on how healthy my bloods would suggest I am! But if that's the case, why am I getting these infections? Would the fact that my white blood count is normal despite these indicate some kind of immune problem? Having read up a lot, I know CBCs aren't a good indicator as a general rule, but this really just completely flummoxes me...

I understand I must sound like a complete hypochondriac and that's how I'm being treated by all the health professionals I've seen but I genuinely feel that my concerns are real. I feel like I'm being brushed aside just because I'm not in a perceived 'high-risk' group.

Can anybody shed some light or give me advice on who I could turn to next?

I have been so unhappy for so long...


Offline Ann

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Re: Who can I turn to...?
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2013, 07:42:13 AM »
Sad,

Provided you tested hiv negative three months past your last incident of UNPROTECTED vaginal intercourse, then you do not have hiv.

The vast majority of people who have actually been infected will seroconvert and test positive by six weeks, with the average time to seroconversion being only 22 days.

A six week (or more) negative is highly unlikely to change, but must be confirmed at the three month point.

Please clarify where in the window period you tested.

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 Sadgirluk

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Re: Who can I turn to...?
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2013, 08:09:09 AM »
Hi Ann,

Thank you for your response.

My case is a little unusual in that this exposure would have been a long time ago- 2006/2007, and I think that the symptoms being experienced could be down to late-stage infection rather than acute infection.

I mentioned in the previous post that I never had penetrative sex with my first boyfriend but was with him for five years and engaged in activities that might not have led to me being infected on the one-off chance but I imagine probably would have done if repeated enough (i.e. oral sex, etc).

I should also probably mention, that now that I think back, my ex-boyfriend did show a lot of symptoms that could be indicative of HIV infection (skin rashes/stomach issues/repeated bouts of tonsillitis and glandular fever) but because he donated blood, and wasn't really clued up back then, I didn't think anything of these. It's only now that I'm putting two and two together.


Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Who can I turn to...?
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2013, 08:33:59 AM »
The only confirmed risks for the sexual transmission of HIV are unprotected vaginal and anal intercourse. If you did not engage in those activities then you didn't put yourself at risk.

It's still a good idea for you to get tested if only to clarify your status as HIV negative.

Nothing you are reporting symptomatically is HIV-specific so stop playing doctor with yourself. You should be discussing your symptoms with a doctor to find out what the real problem(s) is/are.

At this moment I am not clear that you have had a real risk unless you have had unprotected intercourse with one of the two guys you mention.
Andy Velez

Offline Ann

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Re: Who can I turn to...?
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2013, 08:46:37 AM »
Sad,

Again, if you've tested three months past your last incident of UNPROTECTED vaginal (or anal) intercourse, then you are conclusively and reliably hiv negative. You do NOT have hiv.

Even if you were infected years ago, you would still be producing antibodies and you would have had a positive result. The only way you could be hiv positive is if you last had unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse within the last six weeks and tested too early in the window period.

If you continue to feel unwell, continue working with a doctor. Whatever is going on, you've already ruled hiv out of the picture.

For future reference, 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
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 Sadgirluk

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Re: Who can I turn to...?
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2013, 09:38:51 AM »
Thank you Andy and Ann,

Andy- I didn't have unprotected vaginal sex but there were instances where semen could have come into contact with mucus membranes.

I think I'm just getting a little concerned because so many other things HAVE been ruled out such as diabetes, anaemia, etc.

I really do think I have symptoms that would indicate something off with my immune system but just dumbfounded as to why nothing has come up in standard blood tests. Before I had my HIV test, I was so certain it was going to be positive that I had to admit everything to my family. Obviously, they were relieved when it was negative but I'm still finding it very difficult to understand...

I really appreciate you responding to me so quickly though.

Offline Ann

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    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Who can I turn to...?
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2013, 09:49:20 AM »
Sad,

Hiv is a fragile, difficult to transmit virus that is primarily transmitted INSIDE the human body, as in unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse where the virus never leaves the confines of the two bodies.

Once outside the body, small changes in temperature, and pH and moisture levels all quickly damage the virus and render it unable to infect. For this reason, getting semen on mucus membranes - unless those mucus membranes are INSIDE your body - is not a risk for hiv infection. Outside your body includes your outer vaginal/anal area.

You need to understand that (had you been positive, which you are NOT) you never in a million years would have infected any family members unless you were having unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse, or sharing drug injecting equipment, with them.

In adults, hiv is transmitted by:

Unprotected anal intercourse.

Unprotected vaginal intercourse.

Sharing drug injecting equipment.

And that's IT.

You need to keep working with a doctor to find out what, if anything, is actually wrong with you.

Whatever that may be, it is NOT hiv. You have ruled hiv OUT as a possible cause, just like you've ruled out diabetes and anaemia. You believe those tests, you can also believe your negative hiv test results.

If you cannot bring yourself to believe that you are hiv negative despite your results to the contrary, perhaps it's time you sought counselling. We cannot help you with that here.

Use condoms for anal or vaginal intercourse, correctly and consistently, and you will avoid hiv infection. IT REALLY IS THAT SIMPLE!!! Really!

Ann

« Last Edit: July 29, 2013, 09:51:33 AM by 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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