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Author Topic: Why even have this particular forum, Am I Infected?  (Read 2416 times)

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Offline getshorty75

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Why even have this particular forum, Am I Infected?
« on: August 31, 2009, 03:14:22 PM »
It seems to me that the majority of people come here to ask if symptoms they are experiencing might be related to ARS or HIV seroconversion illness following a suspected "high-risk" episode of sex, usually with a female sex worker or a gay/bisexual male partner.  The forum explicates:

"If you are having physical symptoms you are concerned about, you should discuss them with your doctor. Neither the staff of AIDSmeds.com, nor the helpful members of the Forums, can diagnose your physical symptoms over the Internet."

Personally, I have many gay male friends who are HIV+ and the majority of them very distinctly remember thir ARS ordeal prior to testing positive.  Many of the symptoms they describe are similar... a glandular, mono-type illness.

Why do people come to this forum then if it's arguably counterproductive for one of us to respond with something like, "you've had two weeks of fever of 102+ degrees, plus nightsweats, fatigue, vomitting, diarrhea, and a maculopapular rash on your upper left torso  three weeks after barebacking and taking anonymous loads at the local sauna... hmmm... sounds suspicious."  If one of my gay (or straight) friends called me and told me that, I'd be picking him or her up and driving down to the local clinic to get tested.  I'm just suggesting it might be productive to have a preventions forum - we need it out here on the Wst Coast BADLY. No one I know of in the gay community out here is using condoms anymore. No one.

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Why even have this particular forum, Am I Infected?
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2009, 03:40:18 PM »
This Forum has been going for a substantial length of time. Without any reservation I can say that many thousands who have come here have made it clear they felt very much helped and supported when they needed it.

Frankly I think it's presumptuous of you as a new member to making such sweeping generalizations about its validity or lack of.

It may not be the place for you but others have  a different experience. 

Good luck to you.
Andy Velez

Offline Ann

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Re: Why even have this particular forum, Am I Infected?
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2009, 09:44:59 AM »

Personally, I have many gay male friends who are HIV+ and the majority of them very distinctly remember thir ARS ordeal prior to testing positive.  Many of the symptoms they describe are similar... a glandular, mono-type illness.

Personally, I have hiv myself and I probably know a hell of a lot more people with hiv than you do. More of them remember no such illness than do remember an illness.

Nine times out of ten, the people who come here complaining of feeling unwell haven't even had a risk and ultimately test hiv negative. We urge them to see a doctor because NOBODY can diagnose ANYTHING over the internet. Not even a doctor can do it and one who tried to should have his or her licence taken away. People need to see a doctor to find out what's going on - there are other illnesses out there and a person could be missing something serious by assuming it's hiv - when they haven't even had a risk.

We ALWAYS tell the people who HAVE had a risk to get tested at the appropriate time.

If you don't like how this forum is run, then don't read it. Simple.

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Offline getshorty75

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Re: Why even have this particular forum, Am I Infected?
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2009, 01:14:50 PM »
First, I'd like to apologize to anyone who found my post offensive or dismissive of the good work that goes on here.  It wasn't my intent to slam the forum.  I think I was trying to bring into light several topics and they became jumbled and incoherent (or lost in translation).

I meant, "Why even have this particular forum?" as a rhetorical question - many of the men and women who come here seem to ask about specific ARS symptoms as the moderators tirelessly remind them that it's impossible to determine HIV infection based solely on symptoms.  Still, there are consistent threads, similarities among the seroconversion stories contributed to this site as well as in medical literature.  And many visitors to the site seem to want to discuss the details of illnesses they believe to be ARS.  Also, there is a general public consensus that it is possible to link a certain series of symptoms with ARS.  This post, for example, was contributed by a physician: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_94fmY2KL4

Am I infected?  Well, Ann you yourself stated that no one can tell another person that unless he or she gets tested.     

Ann and Andy:  I've been reading your posts for a while and I love the work you do with the community here.  I think you're both great activists and speak from a genuine humanitarian perspective that can only come from experience and selfless dedication.  You're both inspirations - in fact, because of these forums, I've decided to become an "HIV specialist" RN after I finish nursing school next year.  I really wanted to start a dialogue about the "phenomenon" of attributing ARS symptoms to HIV infections, how this phenomenon drives anxiety and fuels many of the posts in this particular forum.  I never intended to slam the forum at all. 

I've been reading many of the posts in the forums now for over a year (my partner is HIV+) and have decided to join.  Sorry for being presumptuous.  I really just wanted to create a dialogue.



Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Why even have this particular forum, Am I Infected?
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2009, 02:42:10 PM »
Apology accepted, Ryan.

And best of luck with your work as an HIV specialist RN.
Andy Velez


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