I am a young man in my early 30s and have been very sick for the last two years. I have been to many doctors but they all tell me my sickness is stress-related.
I was referred to a psychiatrist but did not go because I nor anyone in my family, has never had any mental problem or madness.
Counsellor, I believe something is wrong that the doctors are not able to find out. My aunt took me to a spiritual healer. What was revealed to me is frightening. She told me someone at my workplace does not want me there and that was the root of my sickness.
That same person would call to find out how I am doing. Shortly after, I would get worse. That is why I believe she has a hand in my sickness.
Counsellor, I need your help. I am on medication from the general practitioner but I have some from the spiritual healer as well. Which should I take? Do you think I have AIDS?
Sick and Confused
Dear Sick and Confused:
It must be very hard for you to be so sick and not getting better. You must know, however, that the psychiatrist is a medical doctor, who must evaluate patients to determine whether their symptoms are the result of a physical illness, a combination of physical and mental, or a strictly psychiatric one.
Therefore, I believe you should visit the psychiatrist, who I am sure will do a clinical assessment and treat you accordingly.
The idea that the psychiatrist only treats mad persons is not true. If you believe so, you could prevent yourself from getting immediate help that could prevent further illnesses.
In relation to taking medication prescribed by the 'spiritual healer', you will have to discuss that with your medical doctor.
The medical doctor is best able to tell you, based on what he has prescribed, and his knowledge on the side effects of medications.
If you believe you have been exposed to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, I suggest you get tested.
The only way to be sure of your HIV status is to do the HIV test.
Remember, also, that you can prevent HIV infection by using a condom every time you have sex. Have sex with only one partner who, you know, is not infected, or do not have sex at all (abstain).
At the end of each year, I usually do a routine medical examination - blood tests, urine test and so on.
I got back the result and my doctor told me I am in good health. Does that mean I am not infected with HIV?
Healthy and Happy
Dear Healthy and Happy:
Doctors do not routinely test for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. You should not assume your blood was tested for HIV. The HIV test is not usually done without patients' knowledge and consent. If you are concerned, ask your doctor to be a little more specific as to what tests were done.
For more information on condom use, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infection call the AIDS/STD Helpline toll free at 1888-991-4444.