A 40 year old man come to my practice with a negative HIV test result. I tell him, “So your HIV result is negative, is this your first test?”. He looks so anxious, he is sweating and with a weak voice he says:
“This is my 6th test, the previous tests are all negative, but I have fever nearly everyday especially at night since 6 month ago”
“I notice that my tongue is dry and seems there a white plaque on it, I have candidiasis.”
“It resembles what I have read in some blogs and some stories in the internet. I follow some HIV discussion groups in facebook, and I feel that I am HIV positive, well, I slept with a young guy 6 months ago.”
“I knew this guy via social media and then we met and end up in a hotel room. I use condom, but I am not sure whether I use it properly.” “After having sex, suddenly I feel so afraid, I don’t know where it comes from.”
“I am not sure that I use my condom properly and I am not sure that this young man is “clean”…”
“I feel afraid, I feel dirty, I am angry, I feel guilty.”
“I have betrayed my wife and also my children.”
“I am not a good husband and a good dad.”
That scenario above is becoming common nowadays. The HIV test results were negative several times (he was not promiscuous since his first test), but he still feels he is HIV positive. He went from one doctor to another one. He is doing doctors shopping. He is convince that he is HIV positive. Most people are happy with an HIV negative test result, but there is a group of people with an opposite attitude. These people are not happy with a negative test result, they often blame the lab for a wrong result, the doctors for an inadequate examination, the counsellors for lack of information, and deep down they blame themselves.
The main problem with this man is GUILTY FEELING. The occurrence of this feeling is related to various factors. And as we agree, the solution is to make peace with oneself. How to achieve peace within us? There are a lot of things we can do, one example is to conduct a reflective thinking. We can process this independently or with help from professionals like psychologist or even psychiatrist if we are having difficulties in daily living due to overwhelming guilt. Don’t hesitate to talk about your problem, seeking help is necessary. All for a better life.
Dr. Ronald Jonathan – Bandung (private practice by appointment)
Jalan Haji Mohamad Iskat 15 Bandung
Interest: HIV, TB, STI, Hepatitis