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Old 10-13-2008, 04:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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heroin and the immune system

I was diagnosed with a rare disease you get from cats today. Most people don't get it unless you are immunocompromised, like people with HIV/AIDS. I'm scared I have HIV now, but I'm wondering if taking heroin could also have made me susceptible to getting diseases, and that's why I got the disease rather than having HIV? I'm scared, I was tested for HIV like a month ago and it came back negative but I could still have it.
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Old 10-13-2008, 04:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Doing heroin can for sure compromise your immune system, for a whole variety of reasons (the actual heroin itself is, surprisingly, not really one of them), so if you've come down with some ailment that's associated with a compromised immune system, it's not terribly surprising. It's also true that a fair number of people who share needles contract HIV. And HIV, in turn, of course, leads to AIDS, which is by nature a disease that consists of a compromised immune system. I'm not a doctor, but I would guess based on what I know about HIV/AIDS, if you tested negative for HIV a month ago, there's no way that what is wrong with you now is related in any way to HIV, because it takes many months, typically years, before HIV graduates into actual AIDS, and during that time, your immune system works more or less normally. I'd say it's far more likely you just have a weakened immune system from shooting dope all the time ... and HIV/AIDS is not part of the picture in any way.

What did the doc who diagnosed you with this disease say about the situation? Does he know you're a heroin user, or not?

What is it, toxoplasmosis or whatever it's called?
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Old 10-13-2008, 04:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for your reply - no, it's cat scratch disease, caused by the bartonella bacterium. The doctor doesn't know I am a heroin user and he didn't mention anything about HIV, I'm just a hypochondriac and came up with that on my own after researching cat scratch fever.
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Old 10-13-2008, 05:29 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Im not trying to scare you here, just letting you know so you are prepared. Depending on the test done to identify HIV positive, there can be a Window period of up to 6 months from time of actual infection. This means, again depending on the type of test, that you can show a false negative during this period. If I were in your shoes I would get real honest with my doctor really fast.
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Old 10-13-2008, 06:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yeah I know about the window period. Why would you get real honest real fast? So I can get re-tested for HIV?
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Old 10-13-2008, 07:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I agree w/ BV. If you do have HIV, and it is not showing yet due to the negative window you would not have a compromised immune system yet due to that. Using though you would big time. You aren't taking care of yourself probably not eating properly, etc. Do you think you got the bacteria from shooting? do you have cats?

Take care of yourself, stay clean, eat good foods and re-test in a few months. the negative window is usually only 3 months, but then you can test again. Good for you facing up to your fears. I was positive i was positive back in 87 while doing meth. I never tested till 1991. I was negative. My mind played such tricks on me that I was sure I had end stages of AIDS when I first got clean while in detox. I even told my counselor and I remember I wrote letters saying goodbye to ppl cuz i only had a few months left. I was so happy to be clean, but was so sure i was now going to die of AIDS and very soon!

Try not to read too much about medical stuff right now, it will make you crazy. I know you just want to sort everything out and face everything right away, but be gentle with yourself....take care of yourself......rest up.

blessings, Sheila
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Old 10-13-2008, 09:55 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Lily ha that's so funny (well, in a dark sort of way..) I'm a hypochondriac big time so I always diagnose myself with these rare, terminal illnesses. Although with the stuff I do, I do have a reason to be concerned for my health. I did just get a new kitten a few weeks ago, so that's what I got it from. It's nice knowing what it is and being able to put that behind me - I don't know if I could get clean and be really sick and not know why at the same time. Tomorrow is my last day using dope because I start the methadone on Wednesday, thank god. I can't wait to be sober. You guys are all really cool and helpful, I think I'll be visiting here quite often.
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Old 10-14-2008, 05:29 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I think all addicts tend to diagnose themselves with different kinds of disease.I guess fear is part of our disease.We believe that something must be wrong with us after all what we did to our body.

I always thought that I have a liver disease and that the doctor's diagnosis were wrong.I was always throwing up and taking huge loads of pain pills.so it was something normal to expect that.Everyone wanted me to test my liver but I thought what the use.I'll know when the time comes how bad my infected kidneys were.I even started associating symptoms to liver disease.I was always down thinking that any day could be my last day.Suddenly I decided to cut the crap and do some tests.I felt so pathetic.The results came back all negative.My kidneys were perfectly healthy.I couldnot believe it.

Now as I look back I laugh.We like to beat ourselves up.We imagine that we know more than doctors and that probably we have all the diseases in the world.So just cheer up and take it easy.You still have 3months before you have to worry again and probably you'll get the same results.No need to panic.
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