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the endless wait
Nov 12, 2003

Dear Dr. Bob,

As mentioned previously, all of us here really appreciate the time you've taken to ease our fears of the big HIV. It's been two weeks now since I had two-way oral sex (male-female) with a girl of questionable HIV status, and I've begun to develop what some consider initial HIV symptoms: glandular fever (armpits and neck), coated tongue, and a dry cough. I noticed slightly after the incident that I had a small cut on my upper lip and began to freak out. From what I've read on your forum, I won't have a definitive conclusion about my HIV status until after three months. What do you recommend at this point in time to do to wash away the woes? What are my odds? Thanks again, and remember: you rock. A donation is forthcoming ...

Sincerely,

Scared B. Ondbeleef

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Mr. B. Ondbeleef,

I like your name. As you probably know oral sex carries an extremely low risk of HIV transmission. Your symptoms are not at all concerning to me as far as ARS is concerned, and are most likely due to your "freaking out," not HIV! Yes, it's true that HIV antibody tests are not considered definitive until at least 3 months after a potential exposure.

What would I suggest you do to wash away your woes, and what are your odds? Your odds are astronomically good that you have not contracted HIV.

One thing that I've found helps folks keep from focusing (and worrying excessively) about their own highly unlikely potential problem is to volunteer their time to help folks struggling with very real concrete problems. For instance, spend some time at an AIDS hospice, perhaps reading to young folks who are blind from CMV, or hold the hand of a scared individual whose family has disowned him and who knows he won't be alive to see another Christmas. If HIV/AIDS is too uncomfortable for you, how about a children's cancer center?

Find a place where you can make a difference, and you'll find a difference is made in you, too! It helps to keep life in its proper perspective.

Thank you for your donation. That act alone should help wash away some of your woes, as your one gift will touch many lives. Information about The Foundation can be seen at the website, www.concertedeffort.org.

Good luck. I'm quite confident things will turn out well for you.

Dr. Bob



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