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Rape victim here, please help!!!

Apr 23, 2003

Hello Dr. Robert. I have tried writing in before and never got a response so I am trying again. I am a male in my twenties who was recently mugged and sexually molested by 3 men while walking on a street. Needless to say, it was an ordeal that is difficult for me to cope with and I am very scared as I have no support system where I am. I am extremely fearful about testing for HIV since I noticed some symptoms. I had some frequent bowel movements, muscle aches, slight headaches, itching but no visible rashes, no fever or sweating but the feeling of feeling hot. I also had a feeling of bloatedness and gassiness at times. I also have thrush but my doctor said it could be from the inhaled steroids I use for my asthma. I tried to test on an HIV test called Discreet which I later found not to be FDA approved and got inconsistent results. Now, I am even more fearful. I was just tested for syphilis, gonnorhea and clamydia and the tests came out negative. Can you please advise me what I should do? When I was attacked it was mostly oral but they also tried to rectally penetrate me. I am not sure if I was exposed to pre-ejaculate. Please help me as I am terrified and all alone. Can you also explain the symptoms I have been experiencing as well. Also, do you know if this Discreet test is reliable? Thanking you in advance.

Response from Dr. Frascino


Sorry to hear about your horrifying experience. Have you reported the incident to the authorities? I dont know what country you are writing from, but most likely, rape is a crime. These criminals need to be caught and put away. I can understand your anxiety over the entire event, but remember, you have been victimized and you deserve emotional support and medical care. Most hospitals have a "crisis intervention" (or some such similarly named program) to help with the emotional distress, even if this occurred in the past. Ask the emergency department or medical team for the contact number in your area. Youve been screened for a variety of STDs in association with this forced sexual exposure. Why are you so fearful to get an HIV test? Its recommended in cases of rape (male or female). You should have an approved HIV test immediately and again in 3 months. Your symptoms are not at all concerning to me, as they most likely do not represent an acute seroconversion reaction. They are more likely to be related to anxiety. The Discreet test is still undergoing review to assure accuracy. I would not rely on it yet.

Please dont try to go through this alone. Get the help, counseling, and testing you need. And cooperate fully with the authorities, so they can hopefully prevent this from happening to someone else.

The odds are very definitely in your favor for not having contracted HIV, as oral sex carries a very low risk, but because this was a non-consensual forced sexual experience I would still recommend testing. Good luck.

Dr. Bob

A BIG Thank you
Poor judgment - ultimate price?

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