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Dr Bob! Have I infected my Girlfriend with HIV
Feb 20, 2003

Dear Dr Bob

I am writing to you in this forum as you have the ability to raise spririts and comfort in a way that is rarely seen. You are a truely good man with a wicked since of humour.

My question is related to "Am i infected" not fatigue but I feel confident that you will answer. If you cannot I do understand though...

I am feeling near suicidal and talk to no one about this. A few words from you, no matter how honest will at least help me prepare for the worst (or the better!!)

10 weeks ago I allowed a man to place my penis between his legs from behind, I stayed there until I came. I cannot say how close my penis was to his anus (or even if I pentrated him slightly or a lot!) but it must have at least pushed up against it some of the time. I do not know his status and I imagine he'd been cruising most of the evening before I met him.

Thinking I had not exposed myself to any risk I had unprotected sex with my Girlfriend 8 days later (Why did I do that???)

Well, 3 weeks after i got a excema type rash on both arms that lasted 10 days, Hydrocortisone made it worse and it did not respond to thrush cream, I also got tingley/burning feet, shins and hands and my lymph nodes swelled in my groin armpits and neck. Then 2 weeks after my girlfriends exposure she looked anemic and had bad acne on her face, if she picked a spot (I do try to stop her but it makes her happy), it turned into a crater that healed after 4 to 8 days. THen after 3 weeks she had what seemed to be a chest infection (fatigue (see there is a link to your forum)cough, sore throat and mild fever for a day). The doc gave her antibiotics and it cleard in 10 days (a coincidence?). I got tested (I live in the UK) at 7.5 weeks, it was NEGATIVE (a mini wahoo at the time but long gone now....)

Then at 9 weeks, I got an annoying dry cough, a sore throat (lasted 1 day) and my feet, shins, hands where itchy/burning. Also, for a few days my scalp was paniful to touch and for a week it really hurt if I even slightly pinched the skin on my legs or arms.

Well, here I am at 10 weeks 2 days, I feel completely suicidal, can't imagine how I can tell my Girlfriend (who I love desperately) that I have given her HIV (due to a 5 minute mistake I will never ever forget.)

Today I have a slight red rash on my chest, my cough is still very much there and my lymph nodes are still swollen in my neck, arms and groin (up for 7 weeks now!)

I do not know what I am asking of you Dr. Bob. Obviously I want you to say "Aww forget about HIV" but I did put myself at risk so I know you cannot say that. But after 8 weeks of depression, scanning the internet and all those other anxious things, perhaps you could ground me with a little commen sense.

Thanks in advance!

Z.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Z,

What's happening over there in the UK lately? I've gotten such a string of whacky questions from you blokes lately. Has someone been spiking your pints at the pub?

First off, "Awwwwwww, you can 'almost' forget about HIV." That should help a bit.

Second, I'm quite convinced you can "prepare for the better" (not the worse).

Third, no more talk of suicide, OK?

Now let's review. You put your penis between another man's legs from behind. That's not really a problem. As for not being sure if you penetrated him or not, well that's usually not a subtle distinction. I really think you would have felt the difference between frottage (just rubbing) and anal sex. Although both sensations can be very pleasurable, they really feel quite different. So maybe your penis rubbed up against his anus. That's possible. Even if this were so, your risk of contracting HIV would be extremely low. Feeling better yet?

On to your symptoms . . . . They are not suggestive of an acute retroviral infection, so relax, Z-man. Your negative HIV test at 7.5 weeks is encouraging, but if you are really concerned, you'll need to test at 12 weeks (and that's just around the corner). I'm quite confident the test will be negative and your mini-Woo-Hoo will become a maxi-WOOO-HOOO!

Now, what about your girlfriend? She "looked anemic???" Z-man, do you really feel qualified to diagnose someone as anemic based on how they look??? Then she had a chest cold that cleared with antibiotics. Nothing strange about that. It happens all the time. Her symptoms are not at all concerning to me.

As for her picking at her acne and causing craters - YUCK! What's wrong with that girl? Get her to a dermatologist. This is just bad behavior, and not related to HIV.

So what's your real problem? You hit it on the head when you wrote, "8 weeks of depression, scanning the Internet and all those other anxious things . . . ." That's your problem. Well, that and perhaps some guilt about putting Mr. Happy you know where.

Can I "ground you with some common sense?" I hope so. Your HIV risk is incredibly small. Retest at 12 weeks if you remain concerned. It will be negative. Shout WOO-HOO when you get your negative result. If you remain concerned, seek the help of a counselor or therapist to help you cope with your guilt and irrational fears, and, perhaps, to explore your attraction to men as well as women.

Bottom line, Z: Stop worrying, get tested at 12 weeks, and don't forget to get your girlfriend to stop picking at her zits.

You're welcome.

Dr. Bob


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