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Jul 31, 2004

Dear Dr Bob,

I hope not because youre real HANSOME and CONSIDERATE, this coming from a straight guyhehe. I would like to thank you for this great service you provide to people whom are living with, and concerned about HIV. Ive posted this question to you on many numbers of occasions; I do appreciate that you must receive hundreds of emails everyday and your doing a wonderful job.

Im in need of some desperate advice. Im a bit of a HIV phobe but this risk seems quite real to me.

Basically I met a girl about 2 months ago at university of unknown status, but I do know she has engaged in unprotected sex with her ex boyfriend and one other partner. We started dating as gf/bf. We then had PROTECTED intercourse on a regular amount of occasions, But five weeks ago we must of been having PROTECTED sex for at least 20-30 minutes and due to me being tired i didnt ejaculate and my penis became soft and the condom became lose around my penis, when i finally pulled my penis out, i noticed that there was an amount of clear fluid inside the condom. (Which i presume was vaginal fluid) Two weeks after this incident i developed flu like symptoms, which were: headache, mild fatigue, swollen glands in my neck, little pains all over my body, my neck was stiff and I had a sore throat.

As soon as these symptoms developed I rushed straight to my local sexual health clinic where they tested me for all STDs and HIV, they told me that my HIV exposure was low and that everything looked fine and that my flu-like symptoms where more than likely to be a number of the airborne viral infections that were going around at that present time as it was uncommon for a person to develop ARS two weeks after a possible exposure. They didnt rule out HIV though they just said my risk was low.

My HIV test came back negative after two and a half weeks. These symptoms I had could be flu and i know that they dont confirm that i have the HIV but it seems to me like too much of a coincidence and all this has been made worse by me being SOOOOO scared. Three weeks on from these symptoms I think my nodes in my neck have returned to their normal size but I still feel mildly fatigued and experience little pains in my neck and chest.

Would you say I was at a high risk of contracting HIV? And if I had an HIV test at 2 and a half weeks, while I was experiencing these ARS like symptoms, could there be a good chance that HIV could be detected at this stage?

My gf also told me that she suffers from iron-deficiency Anemia that gives her a suppressed immune system, could this be related to HIV in some way? Im really getting freaked out and I have no one to talk to.

Many Many Thanks Dr Bob

A freaked out HIV Phobe From the UK!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi HIV Phobe-UK,

Oh I bet you ask all the experts out on dates, now don't you? No, Steve won't mind. What time are you picking me up and can you please tell me why so many "straight" guys are hitting on me lately? Must be the new cologne.

OK guy, relax. I totally agree with your local sexual health clinic: Your HIV risk is remarkably low. Even if you are not exactly well endowed in the love missile department (after all, not everyone can be Italian), condoms are usually a fairly tight fit, even when you have only a partial stiffy. If you were in the saddle riding hard for 20-30 minutes, perhaps what you noted in the condom was pre-cum. At any rate, I do not think your symptoms are "too much of a coincidence." In fact, I'd say the odds are astronomically in your favor that you are HIV negative. Get an HIV test three months after the incident to confirm this and set your worried mind at ease. OK?

One last thing: iron-deficiency anemia does not suppress the immune system. It's also easily treated with iron supplementation.

Now stop freaking out. Worrywarts make terrible dates!

Good luck!

Dr. Bob

A long road of uncertainty

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