Justin's HIV Journal

Friday, January 3, 2014

Just*in Time (HIV Advice Column): Thrush, HIV Strains, and Who Infected me with HIV

Just*in Time (HIV Advice Column): Thrush, HIV Strains, and Who Infected me with HIV

Hey Justin,

I was date raped and I had experienced what is called oral thrush. I got tested for HIV when I had thrush and the test came out negative. I think it’s a rare strain of thrush. I can’t get diagnosed with HIV, and I’m very depressed and don’t know how often to check my immune system for HIV. I just want closure.


Photo by Don Harris  © Don Harris Photographics, LLC. All rights reserved
Photo by Don Harris © Don Harris Photographics, LLC. All rights reserved
First things first, I’m very sorry about what happened to you. Let me just say that I can empathize with you, when it comes to the subject of rape. I have my own experience with rape and the first thing I recommend is to get past the fact that it actually happened and it is not your fault. I don’t know the details of the crime that happened to you, but it’s a start. Now for some of our readers who do not know what thrush is, let me explain. According to the CDC, thrush, or oropharyngeal/esophageal candidiasis is a type of fungus that lives in the mouth/throat/tongue. It looks like white patches, almost like the canker sores that you get throughout your mouth. Thrush usually does not happen in healthy adults. Individuals that are diagnosed with thrush usually have associated health issues, such as HIV/AIDS, cancer treatments, organ transplantation, diabetes, corticosteroid use, dentures and/or broad-spectrum antibiotic use. To prevent thrush, you must maintain good oral hygiene and use mouthwash. Now, Conrad, back to you. Before I was HIV-positive, I got tested every three months. Even though you are scared of getting tested and being HIV-positive you need to know. The earlier you know, the better you can take care of yourself. Whether the diagnosis is positive or negative you need to know. If you go through life running from everything you are scared of, you will be running for the rest of your life. The first step is to get tested, and then figure out whether you have something to worry about. And, hey, if it’s a positive HIV test you still might not have anything to worry about. Just live life to the fullest. Thank you so much for writing in—I hope this helps.

Hi, there. I finally got to watch your “Who infected me with HIV?” video and I was wondering if there’s a way to test for which strain you have and compare it to the two guys, one of whom may have infected you? Or does HIV mutate too much to do that? Just a thought, I hope you’re doing well! Muah!
—Gina B.

Let me explain to some of my readers what Gina means by the “Who infected me with HIV?” video. Recently I found out that the person, whom I had thought infected me with HIV, may have not been the person who infected me with HIV. Someone with whom I had sexual intercourse at that same time reminded me of a sexual encounter we had with each other where no condom was used. In response to this discovery, I had to share my feelings. I did a video on YouTube in response to my feelings, entitled “Justin’s HIV Journal: Who infected me with HIV?” to share my thoughts about this particular subject matter. There is no test to tell you when you were infected with HIV. I’ve researched this and have yet to find any such test. But there is a way to find out which strain of HIV you have. The test that you might be thinking of is called the genotype test for HIV. This should be administered to everyone who tests positive for HIV. The reason why is because this test will tell the doctor and patient what medication they might need to be on. For example, some HIV strains are resistant to some HIV medications. Doctors will have to look at the genotype test of the HIV-positive patient to determine which HIV medications will work with that strain of HIV. Not all HIV medications will work with all strains of the virus. I hope I was able to answer your question. I’m doing well, along with my husband and son. Thank you for asking. XOXOX

Justin B. Terry-Smith has been fighting the good fight since 1999. He’s garnered recognition and awards for his work, but he’s more concerned about looking for new ways to transform society for the better than resting on his laurels. He started up in gay rights and HIV activism in 2005, published an HIV-themed children’s book, I Have A Secret (Creative House Press) in 2011, and created his own award-winning video blog called, “Justin’s HIV Journal”: justinshivjournal.blogspot.com. Now, with this column, Justin has found a way to give voice to the issues that people write to him about. Visit his main Web site at www.justinbsmith.com. He welcomes your questions at jsmithco98@hotmail.com.