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Told my wife
Aug 1, 2004

Dear Dr Bob, When I returned from a recent business trip to Asia I was concerned about making "out of character" visit to a massage parlour/brothel. My concern was about HIV and also a fair share of guilt.

I received unprotected oral for a minute or so before requesting a hand job instead. I'm aware of the low risk factor but I'm pretty scared of the sequence of symptoms I had / have. I decided (against the advice of many) to tell my wife the truth. This was very difficult but she was understanding and didn't throw me out or anything. I told her I couldn't have unprotected sex until I had been tested. She thinks I'm paranoid but I suppose she's glad I'm honest. I would advise anyone to do the same. If you have a good relationship it will survive. I've hidden my fear from her hence I really appreciate your help.

Anyway these are my worrying symtoms with dates from exposure: 1 week: bad diarrhea, two lymph nodes each side of neck swell a lot. Lasts 4-5 days no bad fever. Weeks 4-7: Bad sore throat, coated white tongue (with changing red patches)Very dry mouth. Week 7-10 (now) tendonitis of elbow, wrist and fingers of right arm. Varies from place to place.

During this time I lost about 16 pounds weight and was worried and stressed.

I had an ELISA negative result at 5 and half weeks.

It is now 10 weeks from . . and I'm going to take a test at 12 weeks.

Please could you tell me if the tendonitis could be related to ARS or something else? and whether these symptoms are HIV associated.

Thank you for your help. James.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi James,

Thanks for writing in! You are one of the growing list of testimonials that confirm that telling the truth, even though at times very difficult, is the very best way to take responsibility for one's actions, confront fears, and process guilt and anxiety. BRAVO James! I'm very proud of you!

OK, on to your question. I think your wife is right: you are probably being paranoid over a one-minute knob nosh by a pro. As I have said many times (too many times), symptoms, no matter what they are, do not equal HIV disease. Your symptoms can be "associated" with literally 1000s of medical and non-medical conditions, including stress.

Your five-week negative ELISA is encouraging, but, as you know, the result is not definitive until three months or longer from the time of the potential exposure.

Finally, elbow tendonitis is not an HIV ARS-associated condition. What can cause it? Many things from too much tennis to excessive spanking the monkey.

Relax, James, your three-month test will be negative. Send us back a formal WOO-HOO! OK?

Dr. Bob



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