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Advice Seeking on HIV test
Commer123 posted:
Hello, I'm writing on here to hopefully get some kind of advice on what I'm going through. I'm 17 has had unprotected sex and i'm starting to feel really uneasy. In my mind I really think I have HIV. I've been through alot lately and has had the problem of turning to sex for comfort. I'm currently trying to change my life for the better and this is one thing thats stopping me. I've been having headaches, a little bit of vision change, and I cant seem to get rid of an ear infection, also my sinuses are messed up. I wanted to go get checked for HIV and STD's but I just don't have the money and I'm not sure if my insurance will cover the expenses. I dont want to tell my mother why I need to go to the doctor because I know she will be dissapointed. Im feel positive that I have HIV and its bothering and stressing me out i cannot stand it. Im scared. Has anyone been through this? Is it just me? I need help. Thank you so much!!
georgiagail responded:
If you'll look back at many of the previous postings here, you'll find that quite a few folks have gone through what you are currently going through.

In other words, they have experienced unprotected sex (or in many cases protected(!) sex) and have become convinced from "symptoms" they've read on the internet that they "must" be HIV positive.

In many of these cases their belief they must have this disease is based on guilt at their choice of partners or their decision to engage in unprotected sex (perhaps stepping out of relationships) and feel that their punishment is now to be HIV positive.

However, it's important to keep in mind that HIV is, after all, simply a disease and not a punishment...and, in fact, a disease that is quite difficult to transmit from one person to another.

In your case, your headaches, ear infections, messed up sinuses and vision changes are NOT symptoms of HIV.

The early stages of HIV (known as Acute Retroviral Syndrome or ARS) occur two to six weeks after transmission and are described as "flu like" in nature. They last the same amount of time as the regular flu (roughly two weeks) and after that there are NO symptoms connected with HIV for many, many years.

It is not until someone enters the end stage of the disease (AIDS) that we begin to see the opportunistic infections associated with the severe damage the virus has done to the immune system. On average this takes about a decade after the initial infection.

Because you have engaged in unprotected sex and (it appears) you do not know the status of your partners, it is a good idea for you to get tested. You do not need to go to a physician for this. Many health departments and Planned Parenthood Organizations offer STD testing, including HIV testing. In addition, the OraQuick test is available at most drug stores for home testing if you wish to do this testing yourself; it is quite easy and foolproof.

Finally, if you do go to one of these other places for testing, request information on condom use as well as testing for STD's other than just HIV. There are a number that are FAR more common and easier to pick up than HIV.

Let us know your test results, OK?

Good luck.

Commer123 replied to georgiagail's response:
Thank you Gail for your reply!! I'm slowly calming down and taking your reply into action. I plan to go get tested some time this week at the local health department. Please keep me in your thoughts and I will let you know results as soon as i recieve them. Thank you once again!!

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