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LONG time worrier may have been joke

Aug 8, 2004

Sorry Dr. Bob. This is submission #3 in 2 days, but I want to make sure it's thorough. Promise to give it a rest after this :) Again, you're a gift and I am going to make a donation because I want to, not because I feel I should. I used to, and need to get back in the practice of giving to the most important issue we have on this earth to date.

Story again. 8 years ago, was young and dumb. Dated a man I thought was sane and committed. Month 2 contracted chlamydia from this person. Month 4 he came to me and said he had gone to the doc that day and they said he had "something" not saying what that something was. He had no specifics and acted strangely. He wanted to have unprotcted sex, I refused, he hit me until I gave in. He slept like a baby, I haven't since. I went to get tested at 4 months/some 120 odd days into this "relationship". I was non-reactive/negative. I never once (which I know happens) had or remember having a symptom. Month 5 he tells me "it wasn't true" and only did it to get me to do the things he wanted me to do, presumably by controlling me and or making me feel bad for him and do things for him. Of course I never went back for a test, scared out of my mind. 6 months later I began a new relationship. Unprotected oral/protected sex. 4 days (if i'm remembering well) later he gets flu/mono like symptoms fever, sore throat, fatigue which lasts about 2-3 days. Now I'm a smart person and have read nearly every word you've written and am aware that is too soon for ARS, but must admit it is coincidental. I have guilt, depression, alcoholism, smoking non-stop and all that will make a person believe the worst. I guess your take on it would help me come to some sane conclusion.

This year I finally went to a health care provdr and allowed them to do a CBC only, telling them what my fear is. My CBC was perfect (which I know can be). 8 years I still have had no symptoms, no night sweats, no diarrhea, no fatigue, not even one yeast infection (although I did have a crazy case of vaginosis which with treatment went away in a snap). Am I crazy? Obsessed? What do you think my chances, percentages, whatnot are? Your input would be heaven since I'm at that 8-10 year nightmare stage.

Response from Dr. Frascino


First off, a few comments:

1. "He hit me until I gave in" . . . . That is abuse. He should be behind bars and you should have ended the relationship immediately.

2. ". . . alcoholism, smoking nonstop . . . ." These conditions not only may "make a person believe the worst," they will also kill you. I strongly urge you to get treatment for your alcoholism and to stop smoking immediately.

Now moving on to your HIV questions . . . .

1. You had unprotected sex with someone whose HIV status is unknown. This places you at risk for STDs, including HIV. If your four-month negative ELISA test was four months after your last unprotected sexual exposure, your results would be considered conclusive and definitive. If not, you need to retest 3 months or more after your last potential exposure.

2. "Unprotected oral/protected sex" with your "new relationship" would have an extremely low risk for HIV transmission. This is assuming the latex condom was used properly for the protected sex and did not fail (essentially no HIV risk); thereby leaving unprotected oral sex as the only potential risk activity (very low HIV risk). If either of you are concerned, a three-month (or longer) test would give a definitive result.

3. If you know four days is "too soon for ARS," why "admit" anything? Too soon is too soon. End of story.

4. A normal CBC tells you only that you have a normal CBC. It tells you nothing about HIV or STDs.

Your 8-10-year nightmare is self-induced and caused by guilt and depression. Your alcoholism and smoking certainly don't help.

The "sane conclusion" you request would be HIV is not your problem.

My advice:

1. Get HIV tested three months or more after your last potential exposure.

2. Stop smoking.

3. Get treatment for alcoholism.

4. Get psychiatric help for your irrational HIV fears, guilt, and depression.

5. Awake from your nightmare . . . . You've been hitting the nightmare snooze button on your alarm clock for far too long.

Good luck. Thank you for your donation. Please feel better.

Dr. Bob

And on the 91st day God created antibodies....
Can you get HIV from a carrier?

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