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Dr. Bob: Please stop fooling around, and answer hard questions
Oct 21, 2004

Dear Dr. Bob:

I think youre great, but lately Ive noticed that you simply arent being straight with your audience. Please dont take this the wrong way, but you need to start taking more challenging questions such as what happened to me 10 weeks ago.

I met a girl at a party in law school, and I had sex with her. I used a condom. But I before having sex, I licked the exterior of her vagina for about 10-15 seconds. My tongue did not penetrate her vagina, nor was she menstruating or moist at all.

The Student Health Services staff had the nerve to tell me that I was being lame, and that my risk was virtually nonexistent. Im sorry, but I beg to differ. During the past 10weeks, I have had classic ARS symptoms. I have had post-nasal drip for nearly 12 weeks straight. But my symptom most consistent with ARS is the following: I have had an on and off cough for 10 weeks. This cough has been a dry cough, and sometimes hacking. The coughs come in coughing spells lasting about 3-4 seconds, and occur about 8 or 9 times a day.

These classic ARS symptom began about 1 day after my risky encounter described above. They lasted for about 2 weeks. Then the same EXACT symptoms came back to attack me 2 weeks later, again for another 2-3 weeks. Its been off-and-on since. To give you more information: this coughing was really bad during the first wave of symptoms (i.e., during Week 1 through Week 2). In addition, I have had a stuffy nose and sometime runny nose with all these ARS symptoms. No fevers or any other class ARS symptoms.

Give it to me, Dr. Bob, no matter how hard it may be for you to tell it straight. Obviously, the folks at the student health center dont have the guts to tell me my true risks. I know you always say that symptoms do not equal HIV infection; however, considering the timing of my risky experience, isnt it clear as 100% that my on-and-off 10-week coughing (that was especially bad during the first two weeks) consistent with ARS and HIV infection

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

"Aren't being straight with my audience???" Hello!! I'm gay. Remember?

OK, so you want me to tackle your "more challenging" question. Now let's see, that would be condom-protected sex and 10-15 seconds of exterior vagina licking. Have I got that correct? OK, now the student health service tells you that you are being lame and that your risk is nonexistent, but you don't agree. And for 10 weeks you've had "classic ARS symptoms," characterized solely by postnasal drip and intermittent cough. Hmmm, I see. And you feel it's "clear as 100%" that your problem is consistent with ARS and HIV infection. Now, remind me again why this is supposed to be a challenging question rather than exactly the same as so many others I've already responded to.

If you are in law school, I must say the case you present is lacking both evidence and credibility, and your presentation also leaves much to be desired. So, future counselor, approach the bench and listen up. Your risk was indeed minimal to negligible. Your symptoms are not consistent with HIV ARS or HIV disease. If you remain concerned, get HIV tested in two weeks, i.e. the three-month mark; however, the primary reason to do so, in my opinion, would be only to calm your unjustified fears. I also suggest you do a bit of research before discounting the questions of others who post to this forum by actually reading the archives. Future counselor, you have little, if anything, to worry about (particularly concerning HIV), however you have a great deal to learn (and not only about HIV).

Case closed!

Dr. Bob



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