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very scared about possible exposure..please help!!

Mar 17, 2005

Dr. Bob, Hello :) thank you for answering my question, its greatly appreciated. I would just like to tell you that you are one amazing person. I have never seen someone who has so much compassion and dedication than you. I read your bio and im very impressed by all that you have achieved, it's really very beautiful. That being said I feel that I should briefly give you my sexual history. I have never really been sexually active, I got fingered once before by a boy who I was with for a few years( from ages 13 to 15ish), that was two years ago and since then I have not done anything until now. About eight weeks ago I received oral sex and mutual masturbation from my boyfriend. I did not want to but he kept pushing and pushing so I, regretfully, agreed(i now know better). I knew that he has been sexually active with a bunch of people(but stupid me still get involved with him), but I don't know his, nor any of the other girls status. Anyway he gave me oral sex and fingered me, when I left I felt really dirty and kinda wished I hadn't done it. About a week after that he was pushing to have sex and I said no. So after that, im sure you can guess it, he broke it off [probably better in the long run). So about a week after the breakup I went to my local teen clinic (im 17) and got tested for STDs. HIV was never really a big issue in my mind. So I spoke with a counselor and she talked to me for a while, and told me that my risk was pretty low. Then I was required to speak with a nurse practioner(everyone has to) and she said that my risk for many STDs was very low. Then she asked me if I was going to get tested for HIV, and I froze. Then she said that if she was me she would probably do it just for peace of mind. But still, why would she even bring it up it wasn't exactly an issue? Anyway a few days after she said that to me I began to feel the following symptoms 1.really bad headaches 2.muscle pains(under arm pits, legs, arms, groin, neck,back lower and upper) 3.a very slightly sore throat mostly when i wake up or about to go to sleep 4.very tiny (about 1 mm maybe) red cherry/blood spots randomly on my body. I have noticed them before I had even met my boyfriend and never really thought twice since I noticed that my dad gets them too, but i can't help but think that they are HIV related. One on my palm is slightly raised, they are not painful or itchy. 5. some phlegm in my throat (usually clear or a little green)6.weight loss(about 8 lbs..but i did start losing weight before this all started..but im still scared its HIV related). About the 5th week I started having a lot of pain in my mouth, I went to the dentist and she said that I had an infected cavity she gave me penicillin and the infection cleared up within 5 days. I also have a small slightly irratating cut on my tounge. I am constantly feeling my groin, arm pits, and neck for swollen glands. I think that the glands in my groin are swollen, but im not sure. Now its been about 6 weeks since my last exposure (he did this two times, I wish I hadn't though) and my headaches went away..is this a bad sign because im still worrying but my headaches are gone! Please Doc I don't know what to do..im freakin out man. There hasn't been one day that I have been on this site, i feel so stupid. So I guess I would just like to know how risky was my exposure, I know you have answered this before, and you probably hate me for asking and making you read this looong enrty but im so worried that I have no hope. How likely is it that his fingers were bleeding (were hanging out a few hours prior and cuddling, so would I have noticed it he were actively bleeding)? and do people normally bleed in their mouths( he seemed to have pretty good hygine..aside from being a man-whore)? Please try to respond to me, this is taking over my life and im constantly having bad dreams about it. I also fear that when i do take my 3 month ELISA test i won't believe it(if its neg.)..I have always been a huge worry wart..i seriously worry about everything and everyone(I think maybe because im an only child so my mom is pretty protective over me and wants me to take every precaution..sorry that has nothing to do really with anything..but i just want to include every little bit of information), its just how i have always been. Could this contribute to my symptoms? I appreciate you so so much, i really love how you answer questions very accurately and add some humor in with your answers. I read one of your replies to someone and you left them a really great quote: Don't be "terrified" of an imagined potential loss today. Rather, confront today's realities and visualize the incredible promise of tomorrow. Oh and sorry this is so long..after i started typing i just couldn't stop myself!!! Oh and im an easy bay person myself! Maybe i will be lucky enough to run into you one day!

a HUGE hug for you from one very scared little lady

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi East-Bay, Very-Scared Little Lady,

It seems that all your problems began when a well meaning nurse practitioner (NP) asked if you were going to get tested for HIV. That question put a fear into your mind and heart that has grown uncontrollable and, I might add, is not based on any true risk for HIV transmission. The reason the NP probably mentioned it is that some kids (and many adults) are not always completely honest when discussing their sexual experiences and true potential risks with their healthcare providers. They are often embarrassed or feel they should have known better or "forget" to mention that they didn't use a condom one night or whatever. To be on the safe side, the healthcare provider may well offer an HIV test, even if the sexual history isn't suggestive of a significant HIV risk. I believe that's what happened in your case. The NP was trying to give you "peace of mind" for any residual and even unspoken fear you might have been harboring, but instead you had the opposite response. You took her offer as a suggestion that you might really need the test and that led to your fears that you might actually be HIV positive. I certainly do not believe you are.

Your symptoms are not at all suggestive of HIV ARS or HIV disease. Your risk is extremely small, essentially nonexistent. It sounds like you are planning on getting a three-month ELISA and I'm quite certain that test will indeed be negative. If you continue to be plagued by fears, I would suggest you seek some counseling. Being a person who "seriously worries about everything and everyone" can lead to anxiety, which in turn can affect your whole outlook on life. Reread that quote about not being terrified and take it to heart.

I'll send some good-luck karma across the Bay Bridge (it should arrive in about 45 minutes or so) in hopes you'll soon be feeling much better!

Also, consider yourself "huge hugged" as well.

Dr. Bob



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