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#6862 - 04/18/03 05:12 AM A bit concerned...
Sick Puppy Offline

Registered: 03/30/03
Posts: 300
Loc: Nowhere Land
I am usually one of those people who just doesn't get sick much. All my life I have been prone to stomachaches, nosebleeds, and (during times of drug usage) heavy withdrawal symptoms, but I can always tell these afflictions from the ones caused by genuine virus/bacteria such as colds, flu, etc. I also often feel a bit under the weather all winter, as if I have a low-grade cold, but it does not usually manifest itself in definite sickness. I usually get one or two genuine colds a winter and that is it.

However, this year I have been fully sick at least six times, and it is only April. The weather is not particularly bad, and the people around me seem to be at their usual rate of infection, which means that it is not just a bad year for colds. I feel that this unusual amount of sickness must be indicative of something failing within my body or a damaged immune system.

I got tested not too long ago (I believe it was in the fall) for HIV and it came out negative. I have done research on "false negatives" and it seems as if these usually only happen if one has been very recently exposed to the virus, and has not yet had the chance to form antibodies. I have trouble believing that this is the case because it means that AIDS would have kicked in only months after infection and as far as I understand it does not work that way.

However, I know that I have been at an extremely high risk for HIV. I was being sold recklessly, for sexual purposes, to low-class strangers at the height of the AIDS epidemic. I have sold myself (usually with protection, though) and used intrevenous drugs. I have on occasion shared needles. (Even once with someone who later was diagnosed as HIV+ Although, he may have been infected after the needle-sharing, as the others who shared with him never turned out to be HIV+.) I have also been raped by several different people in prison where HIV is rampant. I find it amazing that I don't have HIV and this makes me doubt the test results.

I am wondering if anyone here has any info on what else might cause false negatives, or what other sorts of diseases suppress the immune system? Or am I perhaps just being paranoid??

I have also been getting rashes on my hands and arms that I do not recognize, but I have had very dry skin this winter so this may be the cause. Still, my parnoia is seething and I must wonder if these are signs of something going amiss inside my body!

And one day we will die
And our ashes will fly
From the aeroplane over the sea
But for now we are young
Let us lay in the sun
And count every beautiful thing we can see

Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

#6863 - 04/18/03 07:44 AM Re: A bit concerned...
Ivanhoe Offline

Registered: 03/19/03
Posts: 1907
SP, I've tried to recapture your first name--forgive me, I guess it's my age--can't remember it, nor can I find it. But you know what, it doesn't change how stongly I feel about you and that I think that you ought to get checked out by some clinic as soon as possible. Do you have access with health insurance or other means to get a complete physical? There are a lot of strange bugs going around these days and it's best to get ahead of the illness, no matter what it may be. This is just an encourager to you to get checked out. Alot of the guys are depending on you around here, so get it done as soon as you can, OK?
Your overly protective brother,

"No soul is desolate as long as there is a human being for whom it can feel trust and reverence."
George Eliot

#6864 - 04/18/03 03:21 PM Re: A bit concerned...
doctorfrau Offline

Registered: 04/11/03
Posts: 60
Loc: West Virginia (NOT western Vir...

Forgive me for butting into the conversation, but I am in Medical school, and worked before that in a microbiology lab for 15 years, so maybe I can help...

It does sound as if you are in a very high risk group at this point, so I understand your concerns. But if you have been tested recently, you are doing the right thing. \:\) It is true that there can be false negatives, but you are right, in that those usually only occur very early in the course of infection, before the body has had a chance to start making antibodies. (It's the antibody that we test for initially)

It can take six months to a year before you can be considered absolutley negative - and that is providing that you haven't had any other contacts in the meantime. I stuck myself with a dirty needle in the lab once, and had a series of four HIV tests done -one initially, then one at 3 months, one at 6 months and the last at 1 year. It was a long "sweat" \:\)

If your childhood and prison experiences were several years ago, and you tested negative "now" -then you can at least relax about those. If you have had contacts more recently than that, or continue to do so, then it would be wise to keep getting tested.

I agree that you should go to a clinic and express your risks and concerns to a physician. There are other tests which may reassure you - such as checking your white blood cell count, or checking for a viral load.

There are also other sexually transmitted and bloodborne diseases which you may have been exposed to - such as Hepatitis B or C - which it would be wise to be tested for also.

If all those are negative, and you continue to protect yourself, then I think you are "Home Free" \:\)
I hope this helps.

I congratulate you on your courage and responsibility for taking care of yourself.


"...your choice, is what to DO with the time that you are given."


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