Have you been exposed to HIV?
By Dr Yuvraj Monga
24 years old Rahul, a patient of mine, came to me a few weeks ago. He looked very depressed. He told me, “Doctor, last week, for the first time I made out with a stranger girl. We used protection, but, since yesterday I’m feeling so exhausted. I had fever and cold and with some ulcer in mouth as well There are some rashes on my legs. I talked about it with my friends and I searched on Google and I am worried if these are the symptoms of some STD or HIV. Will I get HIV/AIDS? I am too scared and have not been able to sleep for last 48 hours. Please help.”
Rahul used protection (condom) in his sexual escapade in this case, which was the right thing to do. But he was still worried. This is routine in my practice. We as clinicians need to understand the sensitivity of people like Rahul and need to give them correct information.
There are millions of men and women who have similar exposure and worries. In search of answers to their apprehensions, they often gather wrong information from their friends, colleagues and internet, or fall prey to Quacks and waste their time, energy and money in getting themselves ‘treated’ for something from which they are not suffering at all.
The symptoms of HIV differ from person to person and in some cases people may not get any symptoms at all. In absence of treatment, the virus gets worsen over time and damage our immune system. There are three stages of HIV infection:
The earlier HIV is diagnosed & treatment is started, the better it is for a long-term health.
HIV is a deadly disease. As an individual while getting into physical relationship one must take utmost precautions like, always using condom, sticking to a single partner, maintaining hygiene, etc. And, as medical professionals, it is our duty to demystify the myths about HIV and guide them properly to revive their self-confidence.