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Dr Bob, the CDC was Very Rude to Me !!
Oct 17, 2003

Dr. Bob,

A quick question to help ease my anxiety. My exposure was receptive analingus from a sex worker accompanied by her fingering my rectum (rather vigorously I might add) and a protected BJ (the protected BJ does not worry me, the analingus and digital play does). The exposure was 18 July 2003.

I called the CDC and asked the woman who answered her opinion of the risk of my exposures, again, primarily the analingus. She was incredibly pedantic and rude to me. Instead of answering me, she (1) gave me a 1/2 minute moral lecture on abstinence ["the only truly safe sex"] and [2]questioned me "What fluids transmit HIV?" (imagine the tone an adult would use with a 2 year old). I answered "Semen, blood, and cervical secretions for sure, but I am unsure about saliva on my rectum, which is why I am calling."

"Does your list include saliva?", she intoned. "No" I said. Without answering my question, she then referred me to a mental health hotline and proceeded to hang up on me! Unbelievable.

I assume that since she referred me to a mental health hotline she considers my exposure as nonexistent for HIV infection, but she certainly did not actually say that.

Admittedly, I have been anxious about this and have suffered physical symptoms (sore throat, tingling limbs, 6 lb loss in weight, malaise, fatigue...no fever) beginning 3 weeks after the exposure that indicate either ARS or anxiety.

I simply want to put my risk into perspective. I know that receptive analingus is considered low risk but is it no risk assuming the insertive partner is HIV positive? How does it compare in risk to unprotected receptive fellatio?

I know if my exposure was unprotected receiving anal sex I would/should be justifiably anxious. However, given my described exposure, is my anxiety rational (get tested at 3 months) or irrational (do not bother to get an HIV test performed)?

I will appreciate your answer more than you can know.

Anxious in Asia

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Anxious in Asia,

You called long distance from Asia to the CDC and didn't even get your question answered?

How nice of her to give you a condescending lecture on abstinence and then hang up! That is unbelievable and very inappropriate! Perhaps she was just jealous you were getting some back door action and she can no longer fit her butt into a coach class seat when flying.

I've written about the risks of analingus (rimming) many times. That information can be found in the archives, which, by the way, is where many, many questioners can find answers to their concerns immediately! Briefly, and because the CDC was so rude to you, I'll reiterate the "bottom line" (so to speak).

There have been no recorded cases of getting HIV from rimming or getting rimmed. However, other STD's can be contracted through rimming without a barrier. These include hepatitis A, intestinal parasites, and herpes. Do you need HIV testing? No, I do not believe that you do. However, if you are having symptoms, you might want to be screened for other STD's. Certainly your symptoms could all be related to stress, anxiety, and needless worry.

Dr. Bob



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