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Author Topic: Trembling with fear/Anal Exp  (Read 5501 times)

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Offline FritStupid

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Trembling with fear/Anal Exp
« on: February 20, 2007, 08:50:17 PM »
First of all, hello to everyone bothering to read this!

I am so scared that I am HIV+ (like everyone here I guess). I have been really stupid in the past. I have tried to summarise my exposure and axieties below...

Exposure - Unprotected receptive anal with casual partners of unknown status. Mostly I was careful and insisted on condoms but a number of times I foolishly didn't - thinking back over the last 5yrs I would say probably a dozen times without a rubber, most (ten) were just 'dipping' only lasting seconds and without ejaculation (usually when in a darkroom/sauna and getting carried away and THEN stopping), and two specific times when the sex went on for a number of minutes however I cannot say whether there was ejaculation. Both times I asked my partner not to cum but as I always used a tonne of lube its hard to say if they did or not.

I am bisexual however have backed away from the places I previously frequented during the last two years (saunas, cruising grounds), mainly because I started to become uncomfortable with the amount of unsafe sex I was seeing around me, and to be honest I knew that I couldn't trust myself in those environments. Also I am in a loving relationship with a girl (always protected sex) and really wanted to finally 'settle down' (I'm ealy 30s). In terms of HIV worry, I knew about safe sex, but I remained ignorant of many aspects which I have since read up on - I still said to myself that as I didn't feel sick I didn't need to get tested. I was also ignorant about medical advances over the last ten years. Also, being completely 'non-scene' I never knew people who contracted the virus, nor was I subjected to some of the various campaigns for things like Syph, Hep, PEP and so on.

Fast forward to my current situation. An ex lover (female - possible exposure during the above timeline) is required to take an HIV test for an insurance application and we are awaiting the results. This caused me to read up on HIV, symptoms, transmission risks and so on. In fact, I have worked myself up into a fury doing this and cannot stop reading more and more. When I'm not reading about it I'm thinking about it and analysing my stupid high risks and when I'm not thinking about it I'm asleep. I know I am suffering from stress (dry mouth, diarrearh, lack of appetite, weight loss etc) but I can't stop - I just feel so fatalistic about everything, like I've suddenly had the wake up call too late and am bound to hit the worst-case (ie. she is pos, i am pos, my life falls apart). All the while trying to look relatively 'normal' to my girlfriend, which just adds to the stress.

Thinking back to symptoms is hard. I've certainly felt pretty well the last two years. After one of the UAI times, I remember about a month later feeling like I was going down with a bad cold - swollen glands in armpits, phlemmy throat and so on. I took some multivits the next day and felt okay again so I don't know if this would have been ARS or not. I also don't recall my female ex-lover being sick during that particular period, although she did have swollen glands at one point which was put down to a hormonal problem. One thing I have noticed over the past year or so has been a worsening of my skin - a couple of warts, some skin-tags, a few pimples, a spate of boils under my arms which left pink/blue scars (which now I'm seriously worrying could be KS) and general aging (which may, I guess be down to my stressful job also)

I'm not even sure what I'm asking. I know I am at a ridiculously high-risk of contracting HIV and have convinced myself I am positive in advance. I know that I must get tested, and I will (although waiting for the other test results first, I can't cope with more than one test at one time!). I am wracked with guilt for my past indiscretions and have analysed my behaviour and genuinely want to change it. Whilst the unsafe cruising ground sex was fun at the time, it just wasn't worth the ongoing anxiety and I want - no I yearn, for a monogamous relationship from now on. I would give anything to be able to just grow old.

I am so scared of losing everything I love. My relationship, house, job (reading about the side-effects of the meds makes me wonder how anyone could carry out a full time job, let alone a stressful management position). I'm also scared of the stigma which I know affects everyone but I live in a rural town and am imersed in the 'hetero' rather than 'gay' scene, which naturally doesn't have anywhere near the amount of support networks for this horrible, horrible disease.

I guess if I had one question it would be that I have no idea how typical or not my behaviour is in the gay population and if people who took equal (or more) risks have somehow remained negative? I feel like I was an irresponsible slut to be honest!

Sorry if I have rambled on, and sorry if much of it doesn't make much sense. I will probably think of other questions or details which I will amend accordingly when they come up.

(based in rural lancashire, UK)

Offline RapidRod

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Re: Trembling with fear/Anal Exp
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2007, 09:18:39 PM »
If you are waiting on us to tell you to test then, yes you need to test. Symptoms or lack of is no way to diagnosis HIV. You had several risks so you need to test. Get your test and let us know your results.

Offline FritStupid

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Re: Trembling with fear/Anal Exp
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2007, 09:38:33 PM »
Hi Rod

No, I'm not waiting to be told that. Like I said, being tested is a given.

My problem is the anxiety involved. Right now I have convinced myself that I am almost-certainly positive, which may or may not be irrational however I have so much to lose that I'm going to pieces.

The vast majority of posts seem to be from hetrosexual exposures which is fine, but doesn't reflect my exact situation and i'm starting to believe that the reason I am not seeing similar histories published are because the people involved also are resigned to being positive and indeed test as such. That doesn't exactly help my state of mind though!

Offline RapidRod

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Re: Trembling with fear/Anal Exp
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2007, 09:44:20 PM »
If it helps you, most of the people here are gay. There are a few heteros but the majority are gay. I'm gay. Been positive since 1984. Did I loose my home. NO Did I loose my job. No. Don't be putting the cart before the horse. As you see I'm still here 23 years after being diagnosed.

Offline FritStupid

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Re: Trembling with fear/Anal Exp
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2007, 10:06:45 PM »
Appreciate that, although the posters in this particular forum seem to generally come from a position of hetrosexual exposures, hence me figuring that i must be unusually slutty and therefore at *huge* risk!

I know I am 'putting the cart before the horse' however its the sheer volume of the things at stake which keep running through my head. I'm as rational as they come in other areas of life, but if I try to invoke logic and tell myself that its pointless worrying now and how stress will make more 'symptoms' appear, it lasts for a few seconds until I start thinking again...

Your diagnosis 23 years ago does indeed give some hope that if infected, its not the end of everything (and presumably medical advances over the next decade or so will come along which will potentially extend life expectancy further) however, with all respect, I would give anything right now not to be in that position :(

Thanks again Rod for your prompt answers - I know I'm making little sense!

Offline RapidRod

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Re: Trembling with fear/Anal Exp
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2007, 10:12:17 PM »
The only one that has an opinion of you as being slutty or whatever, is you. It's all up to you how you look at yourself. We don't care. To us it doesn't matter what your sexuality is or if you are a drug abuser. We give you the assessment facts and when to test if you need testing. Other than that we don't care. Don't be so hard on yourself.

Offline ScienceGuy25

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Re: Trembling with fear/Anal Exp
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2007, 10:13:58 PM »

As Rod said don't put the cart before the horse. I would recommend you get tested as soon as possible.  While you did put yourself at risk, you could indeed be worrying yourself for no reason. Best of luck.

Science Guy


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Re: Trembling with fear/Anal Exp
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2007, 12:14:59 AM »
Exposure - Unprotected receptive anal with casual partners of unknown status.
It isn't a question of who's the sluttiest, its about personal protection and it reads that you have been way too relaxed in that department. Of course you need to test ...and you need to start using condoms consistently.

As a yardstick, symptoms or lack thereof are notoriously unreliable in determining anyones status, including your own. Get yourself tested but don't make any presumptions and if its negative then let this experience be a wake up call that only you can protect your health.

Good luck

Offline Ann

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    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Trembling with fear/Anal Exp
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2007, 07:27:40 AM »

As long as you are testing three months or more after your last incident of unprotected intercourse, your result will be conclusive. Go get tested and get it over with.

I'm here to tell you that testing positive, while challenging, is NOT the end of the world. I live on the Isle of Man and if I can carry on with my life, so can you. There are plenty of good doctors and support centers within your reach in Manchester and Liverpool, so don't think you're going to be totally alone. There are other members here from the UK as well.

BUT... you are not necessarily going to test positive. The only way to know is to get that test over and done with. If you test negative, you'll have learned a valuable lesson. If you test positive, we're here for you.

Now go book an appointment with a GUM clinic. Let us know how it turns out.

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 FritStupid

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Re: Trembling with fear/Anal Exp
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2007, 07:56:08 AM »
Thanks for the replies.

I still wish that a positive test result didn't feel like an foregone conclusion though :(

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Trembling with fear/Anal Exp
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2007, 08:43:23 AM »
Fortunately feelings aren't facts. A test result is a fact. So let's see how that goes. Time and again we hear from people here who are absolutely certain they're going to test positive. The overwhelming majority don't.

Hopefully you will test negative. And if you don't then life is still going to go on and you'll learn about how to deal with that. We're here to help with that.

As for criticizing your past behavior, how is that helpful? If you want your life to be different then start with today rather than expending your energy in attacking yourself. That sort of stuff is immobilizing and doesn't lead to anything good.

Along with testing to find out your status the other good thing you can do for yourself is to make certain that you consistently practice safer sex without exception.

Good luck with your test result. We'll be expecting to hear from you.

Andy Velez

Offline ACinKC

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Re: Trembling with fear/Anal Exp
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2007, 11:07:25 AM »
Frit, I had hundreds of casual unprotected encounters WAY before I tested Poz.  It is TOTALLY within the realm of possibility that you are negative.  Just dont do what I did, and think that if you do test negative you are somehow slightly more invincible than the rest.  Not answering my first 4 wake-up calls is the reason I am poz today. 

I was in a place of self loathing and thats never a good thing.  You are perilously close to that ledge right now I can read it in your words.  I dont say this cause I think your crazy I say the following because it helped save my life:  Seek the help of a therapist.  And please use condoms every time.  As Ann says the joy of unprotected sex lasts minutes.  Hiv lasts a lifetime.
LIFE is not a race to the grave with the intention of arriving safely
in a pretty and well-preserved body, but, rather to skid in broadside,
thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming--WOW! WHAT A

Offline FritStupid

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Re: Trembling with fear/Anal Exp
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2007, 07:40:24 AM »
Thanks for the replies. Its strange - before knowing about the results I have convinced myself I am positive and can feel myself slipping into a bit of a depression and what makes it worse is knowing that if I *am* positive then that is just a taster. So I have a fear of depression now that I've never had before in my life and its scary.

Part of the (my) problem may be reading forums like this one I think. Whilst everyone does a sterling job here and its a great support network for people, I read things like the 'Living with HIV' forum or the 'Just Tested Poz' forum and read many many comments from people who had far less risky sex than I and who became infected. People who say they didn't think they would test positive but did and were shocked, and people who say they "knew" they were positive before the result. I'm wondering if I am getting a stilted view of the world as these messages are naturally not offset by people who tested negative. Whilst I'm only viewing (in other words not a 'participant') on these boards, I am starting to get to know many posters and starting to feel 'part of the community', even though I don't know my results, which probably isn't a good thing for my mental health.

At the moments when I start to take my mind off HIV (which are rare) then I will suddenly recall another possible risky exposure years ago, or will remember another possible 'symptom', or will remember another symptom a lover had, or I will think of having to break news to my girlfriend and will spiral back into a depression.

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Trembling with fear/Anal Exp
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2007, 08:36:28 AM »
That kind of worrying can be addictive. It's bad for your health.

In order to overcome it you have to have the willingness to make a concerted effort to get productively busy in your life. It can be done and it works, but you have to be willing to give up the self-indulgence of looking for trouble in the LIVING WITH and other places on the web which will only feed your worst fears.

Now, get busy! No kidding.
Andy Velez

Offline racingmind

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Re: Trembling with fear/Anal Exp
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2007, 10:35:18 AM »
It is devastating to discover that you are HIV+.  I, like you, had pretty much resigned myself to thinking I was before the doctor gave me my results.  It still hit me like a ton of bricks.  HOWEVER, now that I know I can do something about it.  I can take care of myself.  I found out this past September.  Am I over it?  Absolutely not, but I do not feel like I'm knocking on death's door like I did back in September.  I just take each day as it comes.  Some days are good, some are great, while others are just downright awful.  But such is life.  We all make decisions and have to live with the consequences. 

It's not the end of the world.  GET TESTED  ASAP.  It's better to know.   Good Luck and keep us posted.
Tested Negative: 5/06
Tested Positive: 9/06 
9/06: CD4: 442 (28%) VL: +100,000
10/06: CD4: 323 (25%) VL: 243,440
11/06: CD4: 405 (28%) VL: 124,324
12/06: CD4: 450 (29%) VL: 114,600
1/07: CD4: 440 (27%) VL: 75,286
3/07: CD4: 459 (30%) VL: 44,860
5/07: CD4: 353 (24%) VL: 50,852
7/07: CD4: 437 (29%) VL: 39,475
9/07: CD4: 237 (32%) VL: 372,774
10/07: CD4: 324 (27%) VL: 115,454 
Started Atripla: 10/07
11/07: CD4: 524 (?%) VL: Undetectable!
2/08: CD4: 653 (35%) VL: undetectable
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7/09: CD4: 1027 (43%) VL: not tested
10/09: CD4: 1045 (43%) VL: undetectable


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