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Begging for help .... getting married in 4 months

Jul 20, 2004

Dear Dr Bob,

Two years ago, I received unprotected oral sex from a sex worker. I do not know whether she was HIV positive nor do I know whether she had blood in her mouth. I subsequently tested negative at 7 and a half months (using ELISA for HIV 1&2). After that test, I was cured of my "Worried Well" Syndrome and I didn't even visit the Body website for over a year.

But believe it or not, this year, something happened. I am planning to get married in a few months time. And for some reason or the other, the idea of marriage suddenly created a whole new wave of intrusive thoughts. "Is 7 months truly enough?" "What about the rare cases of people taking longer than 6 months to seroconvert?" "What if I pass it to my future wife which will subsequently affect my future children?"

Please help me Dr Bob. I thought I was over and done with this issue. But why do these thoughts still haunt me? At the end of the day, I believe that there are NO certainties in life. Let's say I am about to drive my car with my wife and child in the passenger seats. I owe my family a "duty of care" (sorry, had to use a legal term) to make sure the car is in good condition, to make sure I'm not intoxicated, to ensure I'm not sleepy and most of all, to drive carefully when I'm on the road. But in spite of all my carefulness, if fate has it that a drunk driver from the other side of the freeway is gonna crash into me and kill my whole family, I guess that's beyond my control. But at the very least, I die knowing that I have carried out my "duty of care" as a responsible husband/ father. What I'm really asking Dr Bob, is .... as I go into my marriage with my 7 month negative test, have I carried out my "duty of care" to my future wife? Or am I still being irresponsible to depend on that test (i.e. I should test again and get a 2 year negative before we marry).

Hypothetically, if let's say the sex worker WAS in fact HIV Postive and let's say SHE DID have BLOOD in her mouth etc., does my 7 month negative still rule out HIV?

Please Dr Bob, I desparately need your advice. I don't want these thoughts to ruin the happy moments I should be having on my wedding day and honeymoon in the Bahamas.

Thanks and you're the greatest! A sincere donation will be on the way!

Response from Dr. Frascino


The evidence has been reviewed and evaluated and the verdict is in. The jury is unanimous. The burden of proof has been met, and so has the "duty of care!" I'm hoping the "legal-ese" will provide additional reassurance and some comfort.

Why do these irrational, improbable thoughts still haunt you? I really can't give you a definitive answer to that question. Guilt? Anxiety? Fear?? If you are uncomfortable with life's "uncertainties," I do suggest you discuss your "dis-ease" with a counselor. One thing I'm very certain about is that, based on what you have told me, HIV is definitely not your problem. Of that I am certain! Thank you for your donation! It's warmly appreciated!

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding. I do hope you'll have a wonderful (and worry-free) Bahamian honeymoon!

Dr. Bob

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