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Please help me-aiuto per favore
Apr 22, 2002

Dear Doctor, i have written many times to the body but no-one is responding (maybe because my question is silly and not worthy of a reply and maybe because you get lots of these questions from jerks like myself) but my life is slowly going down the drain because of the worry and stress. My case was protected sex with a prostitute (the condoms did not break or i did not see anything that would cause me concern like the penis head sticking out etc). After a few days i got what i thought was a cold (hoarse voice, some cough, maybe a runny but i cant remember now, and some green yellow sputum discharge every so often ). What I do remember is that the cough got worse at night when i had some bad coughing episodes. I cant remember having fever but i did have a headache (maybe twice) which Panadol got rid of and i did have a left back of the eye eye ache a lot of the time. On the eighth day after the sex i finally went to see the doctor because the night cough was very bad. I didnt say anything about the sex but explained the symptoms to him. He looked at me and said it was sinusitis. He gave me the necessary antibiotics (the same day i felt much better) and after a week the cough went away. I am sorry for the long winded description and i dont want to waste you valuable time but is what i described consistent with initial hiv infection. The examining doctor said that its unlikely that its hiv and he said to forget about it and not even bother with a test. Please help me , do you think what i described is typical of initial hiv symptoms.

From an Italian person that is very terrified and stressed out.

Grazie mille

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Very Terrified and Stressed-out Italian Person,

No such thing as a silly question (although some of my answers are sometimes quite silly) and no, you are not a jerk. There are lots of jerks out there, but I can assure you that you are not one of them. You used protection and the condom did not fail - no "penis head sticking out," etc. Being Italian, something like that would certainly be extremely noticeable, don't you think?

Your symptoms - cough, green-yellow sputum, headache, etc. - which responded very quickly to antibiotics, are classic for a head cold or sinusitis. These are not symptoms of initial HIV infection. And remember, HIV is a virus. Antibiotics have no effect on viruses. They treat bacterial infections only. You most definitely had a bacterial infection that was treated quite successfully with antibiotics. So why all the worry, Paesano? You are fine. Make some lasagna or manicotti, open a bottle of Chianti, and celebrate. No reason for your life to be "slowly going down the drain because of worry and stress." Have a cappuccino and relax! If you can't stop thinking about the possibility of HIV, get tested. It will be negative. Have a shot of anisette. My grandparents used it for everything, and they lived well into their 90s!

Buona fortuna!

Dr. Bob

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