Safe SEX=good judgement
Nov 8, 2003
Hi Dr. Frascino,
I have enjoyed reading your forum for years. Whenever I log onto the Body I always go to your forum because you rock! I have introduced the Body to our school as an educational resource. It is amazing how people still think that the disease is a problem only fo rthe gay population. No pathogen discriminates. Anyway, were you always one who enjoys life? I see pictures of you and you are smiling. I see phots of you playing the piano you look so happy. You inspire a morose, brooding neurotic Jew like myself to realize every day above ground is a good one.
I am 28 and have only had sex three times. The first time it was early in college. It was with a girl I met at a study session (I was a science major) and we later hooked up at her dorm. I was caught in the moment and didnt use a rubber. Then days later we have lunch wouldnt you know I see she has a pill box! She was taking many pharmaceutica. Bob it was as if I was dating a marketing rep from Glaxo-Smith Kline. I inquired and apparently they were for: a) depression and b) hormones or something. I remember going home and looking up the shapes and sizes of those pills I saw in my book none of them matched depression drugs except possibly one for Imipramine. Of course one looked JUST like AZT, it was large and had that marked band around it and everything. Well, no symptoms weeks later except for redness on end of Mr Happy but I had read about what tertiary syphilis did to Nietzche so I went to the clinic and got tested. Neg on all STDs. After 3 months of crying and praying NEG ELISA. THEN The nurse, or technician or something leaves a pithy message on my voice mail saying I should come in. I had read about lab screw ups. Positive samples being mistaken for negs. Don't these nitwits understand peoples lives are at stake?? They should handle those samples like enriched plutonium. So I am freaking out at that point. Worrying how I will pay for ARVs/ What my CD4 is. Can I boost my CD8s and hinder the progression of the disease? What clinical trial will I join? Should I inquire about sperm washing for future plans, etc. The doctor (an internist, if I remember right) at the student health clinic tells me 3 months is not enough to get me out of the woods. Well, i had no symptoms I tell him. He says that means nothing-most new infections are without symptoms. I said I was the insertive partner, logic says I am at less risk than her. He says the red mark at the end of Mr Happy is an "insult" (is that a Doctor's term for injury or infection?) to my sex organ and that it raises my risk for HIV. So I agree to come in 3 months later and of course do not because I am scared silly...
Next years find me both anxious and at ease. I have dreams where I am sitting with my parents talking about how much of a bad choice it was to have unprotected sex. Others where I am on some operating table where there is pictures of virus particles on a tv next to it. Then swollen glands under my chin. Night sweats. Some mornigns I wake up drenched as if I ran a marathon during the night. A fellow student says 'you know night sweats are sign of HIV infection'. So at that point I am convinced I was infected by her. I track her down and attempt to make contact but no response from her. .. Next year I have sex again and use condom during oral (girl doesn't like this idea, flavored ones are then purchased) and then two rubbers during intercourse. I think one of them tore a bit...Get a sore throat after sex but realize HIV cannot do the mambo through latex. It is just not possible. Nothing happened...
Until not long ago I was invited to a department party at my school. I met a hot girl there and then did her at her apartment. It was fun. Though I was too drunk to practice good judgement it was fun. Because obviously I am circumszied. So as opposed to a non circumsied man (whom are 10X more likely to get HIV) I am a but safer STD speaking. Still, very risky. I need to end this tale by saying all hell broke loose in my body a couple days later. I had bad muscle shakes and a bad fever. Fever! Nausea. Bob give me a checklist of ARS and I will give you back a marked sheet. The doctor had given me his phone number and I called him the next day, as I was seroconverting. He says 'when will you learn?' then 'all the literature I have read suggest ARS happens as the antibodies begin to form some 2-4 weeks after exposure, thus your symptoms came too fast' then 'remember most new infections are asymptomatic so you are not out of the woods by any means' I hung up crying. First of all from what I have read on the Body 80 of new infections cause at least one symptom. So I am nto sure about his new infection=no symptoms theory. Moreover, I have read in new texts, using new data, that ARS is most often a constellation of "symptoms" (fever, rash, headache,nausea) that occur at once. Though I had no headache or rash I did have fever that is viral. Now it is lingering this infection, so I am not sure if I superinfected myself, have a resistant strain, or am just reeling from a high viral load. Thank you for reading this. Thank you for your time, i know it is valuable because you spend it helping others. i have added a link to concertedeffort.org's web site form one of my friends clothing stores. She sells high end apparel and many who shop there are generous enough to donate to charities (she has links to Amnesty International, Sierra Club and MS research foundations as well) I would donate but am very broke right now (all I afford myself is about 8 cups of tea per day, coffee was elimnated when insomnia came into the picture) as I complete my graduate degree and hopefully get hired helping others not just washing test tubes!
Response from Dr. Frascino
First off, your 28 and only had sex 3 times? Well Harris, no wonder you're so "morose, brooding, and neurotic!"
Next, "not sure if you superinfected yourself . . . . have a resistant strain . . . . are reeling from a high viral load????" Harris, let's start with a series of three slow, deep breaths, OK? Concentrate on your breathing. The oxygen will help relax you and clear your head. Ready? Go! Harris, that was only 2. I said take THREE slow, deep cleansing breaths! Now go ahead and do it. We'll wait. 1-2-3. Better? Good.
Now, what the heck are you babbling about? If you've "enjoyed my forum for years," you should well know that I consider the 3-month test definitive. Sorry that other doctor gave you confusing advice, but Harris, let's face it, the guy's not an HIV specialist! Next, from reading this forum, you should realize your HIV risk from your 3 sexual episodes is relatively low. Your first with pill-popper was followed by a negative ELISA at 3 months, so eliminate that one. I don't have information about #2. The 3rd was (I'm assuming) unprotected vaginal sex with the "hot girl" whose HIV status you don't know. Your symptoms and symptoms' time course are not consistent with HIV.
So my friend, from reading all my previous posts, can you guess what my advice is? Correct! First, stop worrying. Second, get tested at 3 months. Third, write back and tell me the good news, and we'll WOO-HOO in Yiddish (OY-VAY-HOO?). Fourth, use a latex condom. Fifth, continue to "realize every day above ground is a good one." Sixth, consider getting some counseling to help with the "morose, brooding, neurotic" part of your nature!
Finally, thanks for your kind comments. You're correct:
1.Pathogens don't discriminate.
2.Safe SEX=good judgement
3.I do enjoy life and smile a lot. (I wish you would do likewise!)
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