worried Med student
Nov 18, 2004
Dear Dr. Bob,
This is the second time i'm writing. Thanks for taking time out of your busy life to help those in need as well as people like me that are probably freaking out about nothing after encounters of the sexual kind. I have come to realize how tough this disease can be on an individual and I appreciate your services in helping to cope with this time in my life. I am a 20 yr old medical student and I had a run-in with a high risk woman while i was in the Caribbean a month ago. I wore a condom, and I felt that I was safe from infection. But the following day I experienced an itch and slight inflammation of the frenulum of my penis. Since then I have been worried sick that the condom i used (which was given to my by this woman) was tainted or that it did not work. I am uncircumsized, so I am hoping that this swelling is due to a pull or a tear from the foreskin (mine is not easily retractable) but I just don't know. The inflammation has persisted for a month and during this time i've had symptoms of night sweats, pain in buttocks and theigh, headache, maybe some swollen lymph nodes (i don't know what they feel like, i've only been sick like 4 times in my life) and a few pimples on my chest, back, and arms. I know these symptoms are very general, but please tell me if testing is warrented for HIV or any other std. I will make a donation as soon as i get a check and I hope to be even half the compassionte doctor you are.
Response from Dr. Frascino
Your symptoms are not suggestive of HIV or ARS. Your "close encounter of the sexual kind" appears to have been well protected. For future encounters, you could also provide your own latex condom. I suggest never leaving home without them!
If you remain worried, HIV testing is always an option for you. Wait until the three-month mark so that your test result can be considered definitive. If your very nonspecific symptoms continue to bother you, have them checked out by your general medical doctor or the health service at your training program. Routine STD screening can be done at any time and is not difficult.
Learning from your own experienced will help you be an empathetic and compassionate physician. I look forward to welcoming you as a colleague!
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