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Author Topic: desperate for advice...  (Read 3619 times)

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Offline TheFuturesEnd

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  • Posts: 11
desperate for advice...
« on: October 24, 2009, 07:18:45 PM »
I had been feeling really tired and lazy. I kept picking up every random cold that was going around for a few months... I attributed it to my hectic life that is full of stress. After some advice from my roommate, I decided to go get tested for HIV... I have never thought that I was at risk for HIV and have always gotten annual STD tests. TO my SHOCK, I was called back to the doctor's office and told that I had HIV. I had a mental breakdown and have not been the same since then... That is problem #1.

This was at the end of August. My roommate found out and stole my paperwork as blackmail so that he would not have to pay the rent and bills he owed me. Now I am broke and have no money for anything... That is Problem #2...

I soon started to become very depressed and ignored the results... I have been celibate for 6 months and not because I tested + but because I was making positive changes in my life. I am in college, 21 years old, male, hetersexual. I have missed most of my classes for the last 3 weeks because I literally cannot get myself to leave my house.

I went to the special HIV doctors a week ago and have 2 more weeks until I get all my test results back. I am guessing that I will be locked in my house until that time... I am also guessing that this will cause me to fail all of my classes since I have missed several assignments, quizes, and participation points. This will result in me being dropped from financial aid and left owing 20k in loans. All of this is Problem #3.

Problem #4 is that I had to be hospitalized last summer because  of an unknown viral infection. After obsessing over all of this bullshit for the last 4 days I would say that I was hospitalized for AHI (Accute HIV Infection). If you aren't familiar with the term its because even most doctors are not. I am so disgusted. After reading the material on that and comparing my CBC to that of others that had AHI I can say with 95% certainty that that is what I had. The doctors missed it completely missed it- they knew I had a viral infection but DID NOT CARE to do more tests and figure out what was really wrong. I have contacted a lawyer and will be pursuing malpractice on the grounds of misdiagnosis that has decreased my outlook for survival and quality of life and the fact that I have exposed others to HIV.

That leads me to Problem #5. I am heterosexual... and have slept with 4 girls since I believe I had AHI. I feel that I cannot tell them because they would ruin my life socially and legally. I didn't expose them intentionally but I do not think that would stop them. 2 of them hate me and would tell everyone I know and I just can't be the kid on campus with HIV.

Also, the immense guilt that I am feeling because I unknowingly exposed them to HIV is making me sooooo sick inside that it is overtaking me. I feel like I am going to end up like the character in the movie with Christian Bale called 'THE MACHINIST." That problem number #6.

I guess problem #7 would be me not being able to to my HW even though I want to. Im starting to think that I have HIV dementia. Cant do anything. Feel unbalanced. Used to have an IQ tested at 144... I cant even write a sentence without it coming out all screwed up like I was extremely drunk as I wrote it.

I have no IDEA what to do or what to be doing or what I should do. I am literally stuck in limbo. Any ideas to any of my problems would probably help a great deal because I have not and probably never will tell anyone I see in my normal life... but I don't want this fact getting out and causing untold damage.

Offline Joe K

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Re: desperate for advice...
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2009, 09:01:08 PM »
Hey Future,

I don't have all the answers to your problems, but I think I can help you sort a few out and know where to begin.  To begin, you have just received life altering news and you just have to give it time to sink in.  I know, easier said than done, but right now your mind is racing (based on your post) and you seem to think that sheer will power or intelligence will carry you through and that is not the case.  Please allow yourself some time to just experience what you feel and don't do anything about anything, for at least a couple of days.

After that, you should contact a local Aids Service Organization (ASO) and ask for help for any problems that you have.  I also suggest you contact your school and explain your situation (and you don't have to disclose your status) and if need be, get your doctor to write a letter explaining your current condition.  Surely you are not the first student to have a real emergency, like a family death, and I bet the school can make some allowances for you.  You will never know unless you ask.

As to your roommate.  Other than being a real jerk, he has no power over you at all.  In most states it is against the law to disclose another persons status.  I would tell him point blank, that if he tells anyone you will press charges... period.  As to him blackmailing you, sue the jerk in small claims court for all that he owes you and then be done with him.

As to your previous loves.  You do need to let them know that they may have been exposed, but you don't have to be the guy to do it.  Contact your health department and they can contact the girls anonymously and suggest they get tested.  I hope you were using condoms, but even if you were not, each of us is responsible for our own health. 

As to your lawyer, well you have to do what you feel is necessary, however, I don't believe that suing your doctor, because you became HIV positive is a sensible thing to do.  OK, maybe he missed your sero-conversion, but how is it in any way, his fault, that you contracted HIV in the first place?  Might I suggest that you set this idea aside for a bit and work at helping you to adjust to your new status.

I have more, but that's a start.

Now I ask that you to listen to me and take my words to heart.  Your world has just shattered and you are now facing one of the biggest challenges, in your life.  Believe me that you can beat this and given the medications today, there is no reason that you will not live to be a very old man.  You need to take care of you and that includes your body, mind and spirit.  This is a time in your life when being selfish is often necessary, because you need to do what is right for you.  Please allow yourself some time to just feel and seek support wherever you can.  You have done nothing wrong and nobody deserves HIV.

Above all, work at keeping your stress levels in check and remember that time is on your side, as you are not going to die tomorrow, nor the next day.  You need to take care of some business, but let others help you and realize there is no shame in asking for help, when you are overwhelmed.  Most of all, remember that we are here for you and feel free to discuss anything you wish.

Finally, I promise if you take care of yourself and start to learn about HIV and how you need to adjust, that one day, HIV will become just another facet of your life.  No I'm not crazy, it's just that I have been there, even though it was 25 years ago.

Welcome to the forums. 

Offline CHUCK610

  • Member
  • Posts: 61
Re: desperate for advice...
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2009, 10:38:52 AM »
Hi Future,

I agree with Killfoile completely

I was diagnosed hiv positve on May 1, 2009. I was so overwhelmed and would not leave the house except to go to work. I found Great support in this forum and have gotten the help of a Therapist and a few close friends and family members. I am married to a women who has been so supportive during this time. After 3 months on meds I am undetectable and feeling much better about everything.

My advice to you would be to take one day and one thing at a time. The most important thing I learned was to begin by taking care of me. And thats what you need to do, You will get through this I did. I won't lie to you you will have some down days as I did but with each day it will get better.

Come to this site as often as you need to and read the threads and ask for help you are not alone. The people here are awesome and we all will help you through this.

Welcome to the Forum

Diagnosed 5/01/09
cd4 289 vl 20k 20.5%
6/03/09 started med Reyataz, Norvir, Truvada
7/6/09 cd4 463, vl 1,400. 22%
7/22/09 cd4 472 vl 260, 29%
9/1/09 cd4 462 vl 218, 30.8%
10/22/09 cd4 462 vl undetectable (yahoo) 30.6 %
01/21/2010 cd4 537 undetectable  35.8%

Offline Ann

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  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: desperate for advice...
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2009, 10:45:43 AM »
Hi Future, welcome to the forums.

Problem #1 - see if your college offers free or low-cost counselling. It would help you to talk things out with someone face-to-face. Remember, they will be bound by HIPPA confidentiality laws. Alternatively, locate your local ASO (Aids Service Organisation) and find out if they offer any counselling services. Put your zip code into the directory at http://directory.poz.com/ to find your local ASO.

Problem #2 - As Joe says, it's likely to be illegal where you live for someone to disclose your status without your consent, and blackmail is illegal everywhere. Call his bluff and tell him you will press charges.

Problem #3 - You might have hiv, but you've still got your whole future ahead of you. With today's new treatments, you can expect to live for a long, long time, provided you remember to look both ways before you cross the street and other wise take care of yourself. You NEED that education to get a good job and get on with your life. You need to speak to whoever would be appropriate and see if maybe you can drop a class or two on health grounds, or if you can perhaps qualify for some other sort of compassionate leave so you can get you head around your diagnosis and get on with your education. On the other hand, immersing yourself in your studies may be just the thing to get you back into a normal routine. Whatever you do, DO NOT throw your education away!

Problem #4 - I agree with Joe, suing your doctor would serve no good purpose. My initial ARS (Acute Retroviral Syndrome. That's what it's more commonly called; I've never heard of AHI either.) was also missed by my doctor. Although it pissed me off too, I knew that trying to sue him would probably lead no-where except to a lot of bills I didn't need and couldn't pay. What I did instead was to try and educate the doctor in question, drilling into his head that ANYONE who presented with a intense viral illness should be tested for hiv. He told me (after my eventual diagnosis) that if I'd been a gay man and presented with the same symptoms, he would have had me tested. It's a common thing for even doctors to think heterosexuals aren't at risk and for them to dismiss the possibility of hiv.

Problem #5 - If you had intercourse with these women without using condoms, then they MUST know. People are often at their most infectious during the first few months of infection. As Joe said, you don't have to tell them yourself; contact your local health department or ASO and ask them to notify the women on your behalf, anonymously. You don't have to worry about any legal implications either, as you were diagnosed AFTER you had sex with them and that is a documented fact.

Problem #6 - Pretty much the same problem as #5. Letting these women know will go a long way to assuaging your guilt. If you didn't use condoms, it's not entirely your fault. They could have said "no glove, no love". Consensual sex is a two way street and that includes negotiating for condom use. If you DID use condoms for intercourse, you could well be worrying over nothing. Condoms have been proven to prevent hiv infection.

And who's to say one of those four women wasn't the source of your  infection? They need to know not only for their own health, but also so other people aren't getting infected.

Problem #7 -  Hiv dementia is something associated with late-stage hiv infection, not primary infection. What you're experiencing is much more likely to be simple shock and depression. Please take my suggestion in #1 seriously and get yourself into counselling. Again, like I mentioned in #3, you need to do whatever it takes to protect and continue on with your education. You've got your whole life ahead of you and a good education will make life with hiv so much easier on you. You've still got time left in this semester, all is not lost yet. You still have time to pull it together.

Hang in there. I know the first few months can be devastating, but it does get better. This is 2009, not 1989, and your prospects for a full and happy life are still there. Your future is NOT at an end!

« Last Edit: October 25, 2009, 10:53:51 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 max123

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Re: desperate for advice...
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2009, 12:32:26 PM »
hi future.

sorry to hear what you're going through, but know that you're not the first in this situation and unfortunately, probably won't be the last. agreed, the whole hiv thing sucks and it sounds like it really snowballed with all going on in your academic/personal life.

you've gotten some really good advice (above) and i hope that you will take it to heart. the one thing that i will add is take a step back, look at everything you need to address, prioritize, write it all down on a checklist and then start going to town on it. don't look at it all as one big sticky mess, because as such, it will prove overwhelming.

first & foremost, psychological counseling would probably be a good thing for you, in addition to getting your physical health in order. you should also probably speak with an advisor at school about doing a retroactive late drop....w grades are better than f, especially if you get medical drops. like hiv, f grades are forever. also agreed, contact your local department of health so they can initiate anonymous notification to your sexual partners.

good luck with things and keep us posted on how you're doing.

« Last Edit: October 25, 2009, 01:08:11 PM by max123 »
1/86 - 6/08 (annually): neg elisa
7/09: pos elisa/pos wb
8/09: cd4 560, cd4% 35, vl 13,050
12/09: cd4 568, cd4% 33, vl 2,690
4/10: cd4 557, cd4% 29.3, vl 6,440
7/10: cd4 562, cd4% 29.6, vl 3,780

Offline dtwpuck

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  • дано мне тело, что мне делать с ним?
Re: desperate for advice...
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2009, 08:32:00 PM »
Hi future.  Welcome to the forums.
The advice others have given you is terrific and I won't repeat it.

I wanted to tell you that while it really does suck to have hiv, it's not the end.  Not at all.  Some of us have been living with it for decades and have done some tremendous things.    You need to take care of yourself, but your life hasn't stopped.   For example, I began racing bicycles while poz and on meds.  I even won a few races, not to mention the day I rode 200 miles in less than 10 hours.  This summer my partner and I went back country back packing for several days.  My point is that life continues.  And, health permitting, you will be able to do things for a long time.

Along those lines, please listen to the advice not to give up your education.  If you feel that your life at your university would be too complex coming out as poz, then change schools.  I don't recommend that you make any decisions about being public about it right now.  It's too new.     

Don't despair of being heterosexual.  While your choices just got a lot more limited you definitely will still have a sex life.  There are places to find poz women and there are neg women who are accepting of a poz partner.  There was a recent posting about a man who told a woman he was dating.  She didn't reject him out of hand.   While you will have the astounding joy of coming into contact with a fair number of bitchy poz gay men, most of us have been through this for long enough to know that everyone who has hiv is going through the same thing and deserves the same love and respect.

Best of luck to you.  Please let us know how we can help.


Floating through the void in the caress of two giant pink lobsters named Esmerelda and Keith.


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