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Broadway Needs Your Help!!
Jun 17, 2002

Hello, my fellow Italian, Let me first say that you are the best thing that ever happened to the Body, the website and beyond. I know that my question is meant for the safe sex forum going in, but I was wondering if I could convice you to make an exception just this once. Let me give you the scenario, I am in Broadway show, of which you will get many tikets if you can help me out here (Bribery couldn't hurt) And every event we do is Broadway Cares Equity Fights Aids, so all of a sudden I am freaking out about this virus, like it rules my life. I concoct the most ridiculous scenarios, and am sure I can get HIV from that. Sometime ago, in February 2001 I did something very out of character,,,,I got hammered and acquired the services of an escort....dumb I know, but I did it. So the risk is this, she played with herself on the outside, then masturbated me a bit, then she put a condom on and gave me oral sex. At first I thought nothing of it, then wham out of nowhere 2 weeks later I get a killer ear infection, and now am seeing random "floaters" clear squiggly lines, but I only see them when I am outside, and it is really sunny, but otherwise I have fealt awesome, strong and all of that for the past year, like everyone else around me gets sick, and nothing happens to me, but I can't let that ear infection go. Now Doctor I know I sound like the most ridiculous kind of worried well out there, because in my rationale mind I know that the chance of getting HIV from the events I described are not great, but with all of the Broadway events, and constant reminder of it, I am plagued, and can't bring myself to get tested because everything is going so well now, and the words, "you are positive" would kill me. Also I am dating this awesome girl now, and I am afraid to have sex with her, she is starting to think I am weird. I know I should go get tested, and I am going to when I develop a sack, but until then, plese let me know if I am at risk from this, and if I should worry about the ear infection, or if I even need to test seeing that this is really my only risk. I am sorry for the long wind, but I am losing my mind. You are the best in advance, and I am serious about those tickets. :)

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Fellow Italian,

Congratulations on being in a Broadway show! I just returned from NYC. Wish I had gotten your question a few days earlier. I would have answered you in person! I did see some awesome productions while in town - Elaine Stritch, The Producers, Urinetown, The Crucible, and others. Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS is an outstanding organization. My foundation is exploring working with them and Classical Action on a few projects to help fund crucial patient services and provide HIV/AIDS education to those in need.

OK, I better answer your question or you'll be late for curtain time. Your experiences with the happy hooker were really quite safe. Masturbating and oral sex with a condom have zero risk for HIV transmission. That's zero, zip, zilch, nada! So what about those symptoms - the ear infections and the "floaters?" Ear infections are an extremely common phenomenon. They are also not linked to HIV seroconversion or HIV infection. Chances are you would have had the ear infection whether you had your walk on the wild side with the escort or not. An ear infection carries absolutely no prognostic significance for HIV. The floaters seen on bright sunny days are likewise completely unrelated to HIV. Neither of these symptoms is at all worrisome for HIV, OK? So just remember your risk was essentially non-existent and your symptoms are not at all suggestive of HIV. So take a couple of big breaths, smile, and relax fellow Italian. You are absolutely fine! I see absolutely no reason, based on what you told me, that you would even need to be tested! If you want to, that's fine. It will undoubtedly be negative!

Now, about the awesome girl who is wondering why you're not making the moves on her. I'd suggest a nice quiet Italian dinner at a romantic spot, perhaps Vice Versa on W 51 st (between 8th and 9th) just up from the theater district. Have a nice bottle of red wine (Italian). Then back to your place, which you've previously equipped with lots of candles and some mellow tunes on the CD player. Place one long-stemmed red rose on the pillow of the bed and make sure she sees it. Being Italian, the rest should come naturally. I'm sure I don't have to remind you, but make sure your bedside goodie drawer has all the necessary safe sex supplies.

With all this worry off your shoulders and your girlfriend no longer wondering if you're gay, I'll be your performance on Broadway will be worthy of a Tony!

I do get to NYC fairly often to lecture and would be delighted to see you perform.

Stay well and break a leg.

Dr. Bob


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