My Problems

Uncertain's picture

I have problems too. They aren't teenage angst, high school drama, family problems or unrequited mental affairs with painful heartthrobs. It's perhaps a bit harder for you to understand because it's so different. But I'll try, near the start, where it's appropriate. I need to write about it because that's what journals are for - I've been trying to distract myself by listing my achievements and successes in my other entries. But that's unfair. It's not humanising. It's not an equilibirum of give and take, of control and fate tugging at each other. I need to mention the other side.

I might have HIV. But even a statement like that doesn't do it justice, let alone any catharsis. I've put myself at risk one elusive night. Details I won't go into, I'm not proud of it. My guilt was irrelevant. The risk was high enough I got put on post exposure prophylaxis treatment (PEP) after I dragged my drunk self to the hospital's emergency department, twice. The first day I got sent away because I was too intoxicated and I was just crying. The next day I couldn't sleep for the entire evening so I taxied to the hospital at 4am in the morning.I won't know whether I have HIV yet because there's a window period after exposure of three months before a blood test shows conclusively whether a person (me) is infected. PEP tries to stop the virus from developing in this window period. It's six pills a day, everday. They make me sick.

I'm sounding all clinical. I know way too much about HIV, the descriptive facts and prescriptive safeguards. But Plato was wrong, knowledge of the truth doesn't compel one to act rightly. Humans make stupid mistakes. Bloody emotions.

So now I'm wasting away even in this long wait. I'm in this mental bondage of constant stress and worry, and my body is deteriorating from the meds. HIV or not, the last few weeks after that incident I will never get back.

I've only told Keith (elph) this. I'm constantly fatigued, I've lost weight, I haven't been sleeping well, and I feel slightly depressed (just slightly, I hope). So I try to distract myself - but any break in my mind... suddenly HIV just fills it. It's me mentally scratching a wound to make the itch stop, until it festers; pus oozes into the gap. I have developed a persistent cough and stuffy nose and woke up with a headache at one point and threw up. All possible side effects of both the meds and acute HIV syndrome - no way of knowing which. I can't socialise properly because HIV is always on my mind, I can't be myself, I can't be free around T (who I'm seeing) - to protect him. It's mental imprisonment.

And I've gotten a bit anorexic. It's one of those I'm aware I'm doing it but your body goes on autopilot kind of things. It started when I lost a lot of appetite, then I only ate one meal per day, I'd sleep over 12 hours a a day because I just don't want to be awake. Then I feel fat, because (I've posted about this but it's always brushed past in my journals) my friends are very, very vain (disclaimer: vain but not heartless). I skipped a few gym sessions and they started calling me fat, as a joke I know, because I haven't skipped any for the whole year and they don't know how serious the side effects have been (I don't want to complain to them about it all the time), so its merely just their form of encouragement. The thing is I'm tall and possibly even underweight by BMI standards. But I actually feel fat. I haven't been eating and I now go to the gym everyday. I almost fainted multiple times. Maybe I'm trying to prove to myself I'm healthy by overpushing myself. Just maybe.

I went to a pool party tonight for a little bit - to try and distract myself. Friend who drove me home said I looked very very pale (and it's only been a week since we last saw each other). I already had suspicions the medications were making me anemic (it reduces bone marrow function). Sigh, I'm not even sure what I'm trying to get at anymore, I'm just rearranging noise now.

This really isn't making my feel better like I thought it would. I should just sleep. I really need that. Don't worry I'm a mentally strong person I won't hurt myself. But writing that means I've thought about it.

Hope this post shows I'm not a perfect person.

Comments

elph's picture

No one is perfect!

Yours is a very cautionary tale, and posting these details for all to read is a mark of acuity and social awareness.

No one here would want to exchange places with you at this stage of waiting... waiting...

You're not a bad person for having made an error in judgment while in the thralls of heightened erotic circumstances...

There's little we can say to effectively put your mind at ease other than to say: You've taken every prophylactic step in an intelligent and timely manner.

The odds are very much in your favor that (1) infection never occurred, or (2) if you were infected, the PEP is known to be quite efficacious --- particularly when its initiated within the first hours (24-36) following possible exposure!

You are strong... Don't compromise on diet and rest... and don't stop PEP without doctor's advice!

We're all looking forward to a string of encouraging updates over the next few days to 3 months.

jeff's picture

Hmm...

I am overly practical in certain regards, so this is a case where that would kick in, as you either have HIV or not at this point. So, you don't really need to wish, hope, or anything else about it. Positive or negative isn't a desire, it is just a fact. So, beating yourself up about it won't really help anything.

Plus, not eating won't help things, because you'll just get skinnier (therefore hotter), and more guys will want to fuck you all over again, and the cycle continues. Well, unless you buy condoms, then game on. ;-)

I assume you bottomed without a condom in all this. If it is oral, the odds are so stacked against this being anything, you're beating yourself up for nothing. I have a friend who is a sex worker for a decade or something now, and he sleeps with HIV+ clients all the time and swallows. I'm not saying I'd advise it, and I certainly couldn't *knowingly* do that myself, either, but just saying if that is the issue, then it is way less likely to be anything serious.

Thanks for sharing, though. This stuff needs to be talked about more. That's why I did the Mondo interview, since he was infected in his early 20s, during the invincible, eternal youth period. ;-)

Whoever thought you were perfect?!

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"Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are." - Kurt Cobain