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Doc, please help an unsure Pole
Mar 1, 2003

Dear Dr. Bob, I have a big concern.

I'm male, 18, Polish. Almost two months ago (beginning of Jan. 03) I had sex with a girl I hadn't known before. She was 18-19 y.o. She said she wanted to do 'it' for money for the first time. She said she had had sex before only once with her boyfriend (using a condom) two weeks before. I called her a few times before we met and we chatted quite a lot. I asked her many times if she was HIV- and she said I shouldn't worry and that she was 100 healthy apart from a slight bronchitis she had at that time.

We met and had sex. This was the first time I had ever had sex in my life. Even before we started I asked her a few times if I could trust her and she said I don't have to worry. So we got started. We first kissed, then I fingered her and gave her some oral sex and then she gave me some. Later we had an intercourse (a protected one). The oral sex we both gave to each other was unprotected.

However, now I'm getting crazy over a few matters:

1. when we kissed I noticed she had some sort of cold sores on her upper lip (it looked rather old) 2. I fingered her without protection 3. I licked her without protection and she sucked me witout protection as well 4. we had sex WITH a condom (Durex Extra Safe) which I put on properly (she had problems with putting it the first time so I took out another condom and put it on myself) 5. about 15 mins after we finished her menstruation began, but when I was giving her oral sex there were no signs of blood coming out of her

Please Doctor, advise me on what are the chances I might have been infected with HIV (assuming that she was not telling the truth about her HIV status or she wasn't sure).

Right the next day after we met I had an ulcer under my tongue and (within a week) I had cold sores in the right corner of my mouth. I've also noticed some red spots on the tip of my tongue (I asked my mom about that and it turned out she had similar spots as well, altough she had never been in a 'risky' situation). I got cold sores and ulcers many times before my meeting with that girl.

I don't have fever but have had sore throat for the last 3 days.

It's been almost two months since that situation. I'm getting crazy about this matter.

I got tested 27 days after the situation and the results of the test were NEGATIVE!!!!! HURRAY!!!! To what extent is this definitive given that the test was done 27 days after the potential exposure?

Can it be I'm too anxious about that matter and it's my constant thinking about it that's driving me crazy?

Please, reply to my letter asap.


Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Unsure Pole,

OK, let me get this straight. You meet a girl who tells you she had sex for the first time 2 weeks ago with her boyfriend (with a condom) and now, just 2 weeks later, she want to do "it" with you for money??? Didn't this strike you as a bit odd? Two weeks after you, was she planning on trying to sleep with the entire Polish soccer team in one night?

Now I know you are young, so as you go through life you must remember certain basic rules. For instance, when a woman wants to sleep with you for money, chances are pretty good she's a pro!

OK, so maybe you had a lapse in judgment regarding the almost-virginal prostitute. I was very glad that you had the foresight and knowledge to protect yourself. Making sure your "Durex Extra Safe" was put on correctly nearly makes up for believing the line about this being her first time for money. So your risk is kissing (with old cold sores), unprotected fingering, unprotected oral sex in both directions, and protected vaginal intercourse. Your chance of contracting HIV from this type of exposure is extremely low. Contact with an active cold sore (herpes) can give you a similar problem, but not HIV. Finger play and oral sex carry a very low risk.

Your "symptoms" are not at all worrisome to me, as you've had similar "cold sores and ulcers many times before meeting with that girl." Your negative HIV test at 27 days is encouraging, but not absolutely, positively conclusive. If you are worried, you'll need to retest at the 3-month mark. However, realize that the chances of your being positive from this exposure are minute.

Don't let this situation drive you crazy. Your 3-month mark is just around the corner. Get retested. It will be negative. Then yell, "WOO-HOO." Also read up on Safer Sex tips in our expert forum on Safer Sex and HIV Prevention. Sex should be fun, not worrisome. You might also want to read up on "hookers," but we don't have a forum on that!

Stay well Unsure Pole!

Dr. Bob

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