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Won't you please, please help me?
Feb 4, 2005

When I was younger, so much younger than today, I never needed anybody's help in any way. But now those days are gone, and I'm not so self assured... so Help me if you can, I'm feeling down. Or, i guess I could say...I'm down, I'm down, I'm down...how can you laugh when you know I'm down. Or, if all else fails, i could say No one I think is in my tree, I mean it must be high or low...well, enough of the Beatle quotes...seriously, I am bugging out. I e mailed you once previously and eagerly awaited a response, and to no avail, none came, so i thought maybe Beatle quotes would grab your attention. Here's the scoop. I am a straight (but not narrow) 27 year old male. i recently was with a woman during a trip to las vegas. I had protected sex with her, and the condom seemed fine. I am not particularly worried about that. I di however go down on her for a little bit. While I do not know her status, I met her on vacation and she seemed to have no qualms about jumping into my bed within two hours (with my friend asleep in the next bed over in the hotel room) which gives me an inclination that she was not exactly the most discerning woman around. I probably went down on her for a total of 20 to thirty seconds, and focused mostly on the clitoral area. However, i did take my fingers out of her vagina and suck them before reinserting them. In retrospect, I can not quite figure out why I did that. To my knowledge, i did not have any cuts in my mouth at the time. I had been partying a lot in Vegas, and was not getting much sleep leading me to believe that my immune system may not have been at tip top shape. I had however had a very good nourishing dinner a few hours before. I am usually very health conscious, and am so upset with myself. Furthermore, I have the terrible feeling that here I had a very good life and may have screwed it up. I am a lawyer and do a lot of pro bono work. Miami has a very high AIDS rate, and I have represented and had the opportunity to meet a lot of people with HIV. Furthermore, I have a friend who is a gay man who contracted HIV in the 80's and is doing great. This has allowed me the insight to see that HIV is not a death sentence, and that people can live very productive, good, and full lives with the disease. This is perhaps the only thing that is keeping me sane in this window period. I know HIV is not symptom specific, but here have been mine. Within a few days, I had a few little canker sores, one on each side of my lower gums. For the first week or so, I had terrible headaches, probably from stress and nerves. I was also a bit constipated. At some point during the second week, I had two days where I was just itchy. I did not have a rash, but my arms, back, legs, chest, face, and head were all itchy. This was bizarre. I told a friend about it, and he said he was itchy too, but I do not know if it was the same thing. There had been a significant drop in temperature for those two days, so i tried to rationalize that it was dry skin. Throughout, I have had sore muscles and a pulsating pain in my left armpit which has come and gone. I have not had a fever or swollen glands. Over this past weekend, the two week mark I had diarreah one time. It was not extreme, and I had not eaten well that day. On Saturday, I went into the office and was extremely tired with sore muscles. I had played nine holes of golf, ran two miles, and did some curls that morning. However, this is not unusual for me. The muscle aches were not of the type I normally associate with exercise. I also had very slight night sweats on the 13th and 14th day. In the past I have had bad sweats from time to time if I was sick or something, and these were not like that. They were much less severe. I had a canker sore on the side of my tongue which is unusual for me. From then until now, (about 17 days since possible exposure) my elbow and knee joints have felt sore and weak. After work yesterday, i noticed that my arm got tired holding my cell phone to my ear! Today, after lunch my throat started hurting. The right side of my throat hurts when I swallow. Dr. Bob, I have read through your archives extensively. You seem to be a wonderful man and are doing truly amazing work. It is so nice to have some reliable source other than the alarmists at the CDC to turn to. (I attempted to call the CDC hotline, and by the time I got off the phone, they had me convinced that I had everything from the Avian bird flu to pancreatic cancer). I do intend to make a donation, and want to know if you have a website for your foundation where donations can be made by credit card. I have set an appointment with my doctor to be tested on the 24th day. I know this is a bit short, but I am going away for a week at the end of next week (half business, half skiing!), and I hope for some relief before I go so that I can enjoy my trip. I also am going to set an appointment for early April which is the third month. I feel like I took an unnecessary risk, and am really disappointed in myself. I am so worried that I have contracted HIV. I was hoping that you could respond and help assess my situation (risks and symptoms). I am trying to stay calm. It is hard though because I know I did something stupid, and I have never had symptoms like being itchy for no reason or having persistent elbow and knee discomfort. I am quite convinced I have either 1)contracted HIV 2) Developed the worst case of paranoia ever or 3) Have become a Munchausen's wannabe. I would prefer option 3. Thank you very much Doctor Bob. I look forward to hearing from you. For one final Beatle quote, "I can't sleep...i can't stop my brain, you know it's three weeks. I'm going insane you know I'd give you everything I've got for a little piece of mind."

PS. How do you feel about Dean (likely) getting the DNC chair? I think we need a drastic change to be these evil geniuses like Rove, and maybe he will spark something...Lord knows we need help.

PSS. I was hoping that throwing in Beatles references, promising a donation (which i will make good on), being overly descriptive, letting you know that I am anti-Republican (which I am) and praising you (which is deserved) was my best shot at getting a response.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Straight-but-not-narrow-lawyer Guy,

I'll be brief:

1. Your risk for HIV transmission is extremely low.

2. Your symptoms are not consistent with HIV disease or HIV ARS (or avian bird flu or pancreatic cancer or Ebola virus either).

3. Yes, my foundation does have a secure Web site where credit card donations are accepted: www.concertedeffort.org.

Now let me try to respond to you in "Beatles Speak."

"Good morning, good morning." This is not a medical "mystery tour ready to take you away . . . ." You've been down a "long and winding road," but "with a little help from (your) friend" (Dr. Bob) you should just "let it be," because I strongly doubt HIV is your problem. "Do you want to know a secret?" when you "get back" from your vacation and have a negative HIV test result at three months, I'm quite sure you'll "twist and shout" "ob-la-di, ob-la-da" "here, there, and everywhere." If your worries persist and you are not "getting better," you should consider getting some counseling, because "everybody's got something to hide except me and my monkey."

So "hello goodbye,"

"Doctor Robert"

P.S. Yes, I think Dean is our man. No, it wasn't the Beatles references, donation promise (thank you, by the way), being overly descriptive, being anti-Republican or praising me that made me want to respond to your question. Rather, it's just that I love Vegas. Stay well. Keep up the pro bono HIV legal work. It leads to excellent cosmic karma!

Dr. Bob


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