DEAR ABBY: I am a 34-year-old woman who finally beat a 13-year battle with drugs. I now have a job, a car, a place of my own and a bank account. My problem is, while I was on drugs I prostituted myself in order to support my habit. Now I'm terrified I have AIDS, and afraid I'll be told I don't have long to live.
I'm not dating right now, but I've had a couple of boyfriends since getting sober. I'm scared for them, but so afraid of getting a death sentence that I've never mentioned my fears to anyone. I know I'm being selfish with these guys' lives, but I'm paralyzed by my fear. What am I going to do? -- TERRIFIED IN THE U.S.A.
DEAR TERRIFIED: What you are going to do is get yourself tested! Please understand that the fear you are dealing with is the same that anyone who has had multiple sex partners has had to face.
You must realize that being exposed to HIV and having AIDS are not the same. If you have been exposed to HIV -- and therefore test "positive" -- you need to know it ASAP so you can be prescribed anti-viral medications that can prevent you from getting AIDS. Getting on those meds can save your life. And you can save the lives of your former boyfriends, too, if you are HIV positive, by telling them to get tested.