|Save yourself needless worry.Wear a condom.
Oct 24, 2004
(This may be a repeat message,I got an error message the first time.)
Dear Dr. Bob. I want to take the opportunity to thank you for the amazing work you do on this forum.You are a hero to all of us worrried wells. I am a 35yo gay male who has lived his adult life in fear of HIV. This past August, I went to Ptown for the first time . I also had unprotected anal sex for the first time. I was the insertive partner in a brief episode of anal sex.I used half a bottle of lube but no condom.I didnt ejaculate inside of him.I have no idea why I felt that a condom wasnt necessary. I wanst drunk of high nor was he. Before it happened and after it was over he assured me he was neg. I know that is not a definitive diagnosis. 3 days later when I returned home ,I started the internet search.Im more worried now 9 weeks later then I was then. Dr. Bob ,im terrified. I have convinced myself that im HIV positive and in 3 weeks ill get a positive result.(I already have my Home access kit in the back of my closet. Just waiting for the 12 week period.) My life is upside down and im losing all control.I am 6 weeks away from graduating from nursing school and I dont think ill make it.
I have an incredible support system.My sister is my rock.She is an RN who works with pediatric AIDS patients. When I told her what happened she first said"what were u thinknig?" Then she told me that im overreacting and I need to stop scanning the internet because modes of HIV transmission wont change from day to day. She tells me that I am wasting precious time with all this worry.She says that of course it is possible to become infected from what I did but it is not very likely.I wish I could believe her. I am consumed with thoughts of HIV and there is no getting away from it. I write this letter to all men who think you dont need a condom. ITS NOT WORTH IT. The constant worry will tear you down. I pray in 3 weeks ill be able to WOOHOOOO.I need the sanity to finish nursing school.
Thank you Dr. Bob
Sleepless in Jersey
| Response from Dr. Frascino
Hello Sleepless in Jersey,
You state you are "a 35 y.o. gay male who has lived his adult life in fear of HIV," and it appears you are continuing to do just that.
I totally agree with your sister. Certainly if you read the archives of this forum, there are literally thousands of posts to support our position.
Why is it that you "wish you could believe" your sister, but obviously do not??? The answer is in your very own words: "I am consumed with thoughts of HIV . . . ." These fears, not HIV, are what is turning your life "upside down" and causing you to "lose control."
To be an effective RN, you are going to have to learn how to analyze facts and separate them from unwarranted fears. I suggest you begin to do this right away with your own "case."
Fact: You had unprotected insertive anal sex. This does place you at some degree of risk for STDs, including HIV. That risk is estimated to be in the range of 0.03% to 0.09%, if your partner was confirmed to be HIV positive. Since the status of your partner is unknown, your estimated risk would be lower.
Fact: You need an HIV test at the three-month mark. However, the statistical odds are all in your favor for not having contracted HIV from this single event.
Fear: "I have convinced myself that I'm HIV positive and in 3 weeks I'll get a positive result."
In light of your difficulty separating facts from fears and the fact you have "lived your adult life in fear," I would strongly suggest you consider getting some counseling to help you regain control and turn your life back right-side up.
We'll all be sending you our very best luck for your three-month test.
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