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Should I get tested-seems low-risk?
Jun 6, 2004

Hi Dr. Bob

First, let me tell you that you seem to be one of the most amazing human beings that I have seen. I've been reading your site for the last two weeks religiously. My donation to your foundation will be on its way in June.

Now, to my question. I had protected (both oral and vaginal) intercourse with a female of unknown serostatus. The condom did not brake.

To be extra safe, during the act I have proceeded to put on another condom. Before this, however, I took off the first condom, but she stopped me and put it back immidiately and put the new condom on top of it. So essentially, my first condom that had already been in "action" was put back onto my penis. I believe it wasn't turned inside out (my guess was that if it was it would have been noticeably difficult to put it back on so quickly; it rolled all the way again easily. But of course my worry is that it might have been reversed.

If it was reversed, is there a serious possibility of infection from here vaginal secretions?

All this took place eight weeks ago. Of course I am also a "worried-well" (I hope) and have been monitoring myself very closely. I had no symptoms of ARS (or anything else for that matter) even though for two weeks I had been in a state of guilt, paranoia and depression. I am married you see, and I feel incredibly guilty and disgusted with myself. I had sex with my wife 21 days after my potential exposure without protection (I wasn't feeling the guilt, being so glad to see her after three months apart. I haven't had sex with her for over two weeks now (being depressed and using it as an excuse), and monitoring her for ARS of course. No symptoms of any sort so far.thank god. I'd probably kill myself if I had infected her...

The woman on the city-HIV- center info-line told me that my risk was so low, as to be almost non-existent and that she saw no reason to get tested unless for state-of-mind.

Would you agree with her?

Thanks for your answer in advance. Keep up the great work and I wish you great health for many-many more years!

b.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi b,

I definitely agree with the info-line advice. Your risk really is essentially nonexistent, and HIV testing would only be for peace of mind. However, I'm not certain even this will address your guilt and depression. The best solution for this is to be honest with your wife, as difficult as that seems. As I have often said in this forum, we all make mistakes. It's human nature; unless, of course, you are George W., in which case you attempt to blame all your mistakes on scapegoats like George Tenet. Recognizing our mistakes is half the battle. The equally important second half of the equation is accepting the consequences of our actions and learning from the experience. I'd also recommend you consider counseling, if the guilt and depression symptoms are persisting.

Thank you for your kind words and willingness to make a tax-exempt donation to my foundation. We are confronting the pandemic on two primary fronts:

1. Increasing HIV/AIDS awareness through education and advocacy.

2. Providing crucial services to men, women, and children living with HIV/AIDS worldwide.

Good luck. Feel better.

Dr. Bob



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