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Author Topic: Severe Hypchondria/Cyberchondria for HIV  (Read 386 times)

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Offline Onion Night

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Severe Hypchondria/Cyberchondria for HIV
« on: December 15, 2013, 01:22:52 AM »
Hello, everybody. I'm new to these here Forums, it's a real pleasure to meet all of you, and am definitely Looking forward to a meaningful and worthy stay here.

Apologies in advance if my first-ever post here would make me out to be as some sort of crazed Hyponchondriac. I just need to find a suitable place to dump all of this, as I feel like I'm on the brink of losing my sanity.

Well, a couple of months ago, 6 months to be exact, I had ORAL SEX with multiple partners. The thing is, I never have been (and never will be) on both ends of penetration. All of my sexual activities were strictly limited to oral sex. At that time, I made sure that my partner's penis didn't have any open wounds, similarly, I made sure my mouth was free from mouth ulcers, open wounds and dental cavities. As I understood that the risk for contamination of this kind of sexual activity is remarkably low (and given all the necessary precautions I took to make sure the activity is performed clean), I went ahead and swallowed my partners' cum.   

Now, fast forward a few months, I have been showing signs of HIV symptoms, which I have become overly obsessed diagnosing myself with. I'm afraid it's already gotten the best of me, to the point that I linger on the possibilities day in and day out, further deteriorating my overall general well-being, and giving me more reason to believe I have the dreaded infection.

HOWEVER, I have reasons to believe that the symptoms I am showing/have shown can be credited to something else. But because of my severe and morbid need to associate every little thing I'm feeling with HIV, I'm afraid I've become somewhat irrational and unreasonable with my thoughts. Here are the list of symptoms I've felt/am feeling:

Mouth Ulcer: I live in a tropical country, where walking out into the porch honestly feels like you're walking into an open sauna or something - it's that bad. So it's not atypical for someone like me to experience having cold sores once in a while, as a matter of fact, I get it once a year, at the very least. But this one is different, it's big and hurts like hell. It lasted for a few days before it completely healed, after I had the school nurse apply something on it. I read online that cold sores can easily be spread through direct contact. I remember my boyfriend (became steady and faithful to him for 2 months now, but still I haven't had penetration sex, even with him!) was feeling very ill (with colds), and I was asking him to kiss me, which he did, and several hours later, I started feeling ill myself. I thought I was having flu-like symptoms, only to find out a cold sore appeared out of nowhere the next morning. Take note, I've never gotten the flu.

Sore throat: This one happened a couple of months back. Still, I have reason to believe this wasn't brought about by the dreaded virus because my throat started irritating immediately after performing oral sex with my boyfriend (he's clean by the way, he's HIV negative). By the way, I deepthroat, so that could have contributed to why I was feeling what I was feeling. Lasted a few days, completely gone after I took some Difflam and Lozenges.

Rapid Weight Loss: This one's a bit tricky to tell. I never really did notice myself until a couple of friends pointed it out to me. And when everyone else started saying the same thing, I became paranoid and checked my weight. If memory serves me right, I was 160 lbs last April and now I'm down to 150 lbs, in two weeks time! I started really panicking, only to find out the scale I had at home was rigged, and when I used the one available at our school, I was only at a 157.5 lbs or something.

Also, this manifested a week after my Mouth Ulcer and Sore Throat healed, and at the time I had those, I wasn't eating anything because the presence of food in my mouth (or even liquid) further aggravated the pain.

Skin Rash: This one was the most puzzling. I had a couple of rashes that itched like hell appear out of nowhere a month back. The thing is, I looked at images online to check if they resembled the rash HIV-positive patients experienced - they didn't. They were neither big, nor they resembled boils. What's more is that they completely disappeared during the day and only appeared (and itched like crazy) at night! That sounded a whole lot like HIVES Rash (brought about by insect bites) than the the actual HIV rash to me. Come to think of it, I once saw a millipede or something crawling up my leg just a month back, trust me, our house is chock full of 'em. Anyway, two anti-histamines did the trick and they're a thing of the past now.

Diarrhea: I only encountered this once and attributed this to the fact that I had a tall glass of icy cold water immediately after chugging down a boiling pot of strong coffee. I never had this symptom since.

Night Sweats: At some point in time, I started researching about my condition and Googled up HIV as a possibility. After seeing the similarities, I have never been so afraid in my whole damn life! And I believe I've just experienced my first ever Panic Attack episode! Right there and then, glued to my seat, I started sweating profusely, for no reason at all! And after a while, I found myself pacing back and forth around the house, convincing myself it's probably nothing and I'm probably overthinking stuff (like I usually do). That Thursday night (just this Thursday night 12/17/13), I really, really had difficulty sleeping, I was tossing and turning, and sweating profusely. It was as if the more my brain was thinking about the possibility that Night Sweating was an indicator of the virus infecting my body, the more my body was exhibiting it. But I couldn't help it, I was just literally paralyzed by fear itself. That night, I didn't get any sleep at all.

Like I said, I live in a tropical, warm country, and if I ever did experience anything like that in the past (my A/C is timed, it automatically shuts down after 4 hours or something of use and turns the fan on, to conserve energy), it clearly wasn't anything that horrific. My bedsheet and jimjams were drenched in my own sweat.

Just last night, I woke up drenched in my sweat again, after I had a nightmare about a nurse confirming me I was HIV negative. Yeah, I know I should be glad the dream turned out that way, but it just goes to show how much of the day I take up just obsessing over the fact that I may have it. I can honestly say that this past week, I feel like I've hit rock bottom. I haven't contacted any of my friends, only my boyfriend knows about this. Needless to say, it's negatively affected my work performance, school performance, and family life.

Dry Cough: After four or five sleepless nights and letting fear grab a hold of me (and that's putting it rather lightly), I felt my immune system weakening and I started experiencing flu-like symptoms late last Friday. Funny, I don't feel tired or sleepy at all, just really, really, really, really anxious about my HIV status. I immediately started fighting it with pills and serums before it even had a chance to present itself and it worked, for the most part, specifically, the remainder of Friday night and the better half of Saturday. After eating some chocolate and drinking a tall glass of ice water at dinner last night (Saturday night), I started experiencing the symptoms again and took a pill for it last night and early this morning, but to no avail. It's now a full-blown dry cough, no doubt about that, but it's not that I'm hacking away or anything, just a few light ones every now and then. My throat does feel terribly itchy though. But I have a couple of Menthols here for that.

Loss of Appetite: Again, I'd attribute this to the anxiety attack I had last Thursday night, but when I started thinking about the possibility that I might have contracted the virus, I completely lost the will to eat anything. So much so, that I only managed to drink water for the better half of Friday. Friday was the worst day for me.

Feeling of Nausea: I'd attribute this to my anxiety again. Although I've never really vomited, the thought of good food (something I enjoyed just a couple of weeks back) isn't as appetizing or appealing as it was before. And the possibility of me having the dreaded virus within me is making me sick to my stomach, literally.

When I finally mustered up the courage to go to a Social Hygiene clinic and have myself tested, lo and behold, the Med Tech was on leave. But the Peer Counselor and Registered Nurse stationed there were more than happy to answer any questions I may have had at that time and they shed a little more light on some truths about HIV, something Google never did. Even though I became open and honest with them, and told them all of the symptoms I have had in the recent weeks and how closely associated with HIV they were, they were still adamant that it's not, in fact, HIV, and that I was clearly having some kind of chronic anxiety (that's bringing out all these symptoms) stating the chances for infection via oral sex is very, very, very low but still allowed me to get the testing done tomorrow (Monday) just for the sake of my peace of mind.

If you read up to here, I sincerely want to thank you. I just need someone, anyone, to hear me out at this time. At this point, I don't care who you are, I just need somebody to give me their thoughts and insights about my condition. I'm on the edge of losing it, I can't even be sarcastic about. I've lost enough sleep overthinking and obsessing about this and even failed my College Thesis because I failed to contribute my part on it last Thursday night (that was the night I started reading up on the symptoms and experienced my first breakdown)!

Please. I am desperate.
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Offline Leo99

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Re: Severe Hypchondria/Cyberchondria for HIV
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2013, 09:21:30 AM »
Hello Onion Night and welcome to Anxiety Zone!

I am sorry you feel bad. From my experience with anxiety, reassurance giving/seeking isn't working as it only brings on further questions and doubts. Anxiety tends to get stuck on those 0.000001% chances and since nothing in life is 100%, anxiety feeds itself further with searching for the lacking percents.
So I do apologize for not giving you any insight into your symptoms. What I can offer though is my opinion that the waiting part is the worst and that you will feel better once you get the test and the results.
In meantime I would try to distract myself with some other stuff. Perhaps take the time and google about cbt? Helped me great deal with my health anxiety.

Hope all works out best for you. Sending positive vibes your way  :grinning-smiley-003:!
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From childhood's hour I have not been
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Offline utahguy058

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Re: Severe Hypchondria/Cyberchondria for HIV
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2013, 02:42:37 PM »
Great news! You are going to test negative for HIV. I am 100 percent certain. I can answer all your questions, but it's up to you to believe that you are truly ok and will test negative for HIV.

 Certain things you have to know about the HIV virus. You get in the first month symptoms that are horrendous. The worst flu of your life. After this point you will feel better and remain symptom free for YEARS and YEARS!!! Many of the symptoms you are describing, like a dry cough does not show up with the virus until you have been infected with the virus for over 5 years plus. Mouth Ulcers are not an inital symptom, if the ulcers are in your mouth they are not cold sores, cold sores come from the Herpes virus and show up on the outside of the mouth. This is not HIV related, though performing oral sex while having herpes sores can increase your risk for several STI's. The sore throat associated with initial HIV infection is the worst sore throat in the world. We are talking unable to swallow water, needing pain killers to swallow. You will also have a severe fever in the initial symptoms of HIV. Night sweats will also come later in the virus when your immune system starts to weaken, again we are talking years down the road. The loss of appetite and nausea associated with the initial HIV infection is much more than I just am not feeling hungry. You have zero desire to eat and if you do eat you throw up what you eat. This lasts for weeks on end and results in dramatic initial weight loss. I am talking 40 pounds in a month weight loss. After this month you then regain appetite and gain weight back. The skin rash with HIV is an all over the body rash. It lasts for quite sometime and actually is not itchy, but more of hot skin and encompasses the body slowly over a period of time, after this it clears up and doesn't come back.

The point is that HIV works in a specific way. It enters your body, and your body tries to fight it off. At this point is when you get flu like symptoms that are horrendous. They leave you bed ridden and able to function. The sore throat is the worst you will experience. Walking to the bathroom will be very difficult, walking to the store would be impossible. It is not anything at all like you are describing. After this initial illness you are symptom free. You will not have symptoms for years and years. The problem with HIV and people having complications is that they do remain symptom free so they do not get tested. When serious symptoms start to crop up it is usually around 8 years after infection and the immune system has finally been compromised to the point that opportunistic infections start to show up. This is when they go to the doctor and get diagnosed and therefore have a longer road to recovery than people who are diagnosed earlier on before severe compromising of the immune system. So if you have been with your boyfriend for 2 months, and he is HIV negative, and you have not been with anyone else in this time you would have ZERO symptoms. and if you had symptoms prior it would of been the worst flu of your life.

Next... HIV is not a death sentence. In fact you can count on the same life span as someone without HIV. Treatment is so good now that you take one pill or a couple pills once a day and the virus is kept at bay in your body and your immune system recovers. People who are on effective treatment have a very very very low chance of ever passing on the virus. It keeps the virus that suppressed. With the virus you would still be able to function, and work, and run, and swim, and do everything you wanted with no problems. Life would go on as normal, only difference is that you would just take a medication and eat healthy and exercise. Things you should be doing anyway. HIV is not the evil you think it is, it is a very manageable condition with a vaccine or a functional cure well within your lifetime. The advances they are making is unreal, and the treatment is very good and your life will remain much what is now.

Finally, as you know getting HIV from oral sex is a very very very low risk activity. There needs to be two things, you need an open sore in your mouth and semen or blood from their penis to enter that wound in your mouth. The HIV virus is very delicate and needs optimal conditions for transferring. HIV can not survive outside of the body for long at all, and saliva is a very inhospitable fluid for HIV as well. So you would need a lot of their fluid and a SIGNIFICANT wound in your mouth. I"m not talking maybe you brushed your teeth that morning and a little bit of bleeding. I am talking you have an open bleeding wound in your mouth. You could taste the blood. I would hope you are not performing oral sex if you are bleeding that strong in the mouth.

Finally I would like to reiterate as I did at the beginning, you are not HIV POSITIVE!!!! You do not meet how this virus presents itself at all. You do have anxiety however, and I can realize how scary HIV must seem, but it is not what you have made it out to be. I would rather get HIV than diabetes per say. Much more manageable. But you need to not worry about either because you are healthy and go get the test tomorrow and relish in the fact that you are HIV NEGATIVE, you have nothing to worry about, easier said than done, I know. Hope this helps!
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Offline Onion Night

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Re: Severe Hypchondria/Cyberchondria for HIV
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2013, 08:25:31 PM »
Oh my gosh, utahguy058, if I could give you a warm hug, I would. You have no idea how much that helped, I am literally paralyzed by fear and have done nothing the past week but obsess over the possibility that I may have caught it. I haven't slept in days, which is why, I guess, my immune system weakened and I'm having these coughing fits. But good news, I'm well on my way to recovery now. The itchy feeling in my throat is gone after taking some pills and Menthol for it. In just 1 day, that's , like, a personal best for me.  :yes:

I admit though, that I still suffer from Night Sweats and keep having interrupted sleep all through out the night. Might just be anxiety more than anything. Again. Thank you so much, utahguy058 and Leo99 for your well-wishes and reassurance. My test is due in an hour and again, I'm pacing back and forth around the house again. I'll just try to suck it up and get it over with.

May the force be with you both.  :action-smiley-065:
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Offline utahguy058

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Re: Severe Hypchondria/Cyberchondria for HIV
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2013, 11:05:28 PM »
No problem. I am going to be very happy for you, and hope you a speedy recovery in this health anxiety episode. Let us know your results ( cause I know they are negative ) and know you are doing ok. Also night sweats are very common with me and anxiety. I have had them for over 15 years on and off cause of anxiety. Night sweats with HIV do not come for YEARS after initial infection. And by night sweats I meant you wake up with the sheets soaking wet you could ring them out and fill a cup of water up with them. Best wishes and in the future make sure to always be safe when it comes to sexual activity. And most of all remember that people with HIV are just regular humans, and you can't get it from hugging, kissing, or being their friends. If you meet someone with HIV I hope you can treat them the same as anyone else you would meet. It is an extremely difficult virus to catch and never worry that any kind of casual contact with a person with HIV can ever lead to transmission.
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