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ARS symptoms & Suicidal thoughts R killing me
Jul 6, 2005

Hey Bob,

YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION TO SO MANY & I KNOW WHAT YOU WILL SAY "GET TESTED @ 3 MONTHS" AND GO FROM THERE. Anyways here goes my story. 3 months ago I went to visit some friends in texas I have not seen in 12 years. Needless to say that weekend the wheels fell right off the wagon. After getting absoultely polluted with ETOH (vodka to be exact)I lost my senses and had unprotected sex with some female I met that evening. The next day I threw up on the golf course not from ARS but from the feeling that surfaces from your gut saying What the F**K did you do last night?????You Idiot?? So I make it back to the midwest and my wife picks me up at the airport. Not that it makes a difference but the first time in my life of 33 years i have ever been unfaithfull. The next days I come across ARS symptoms online and then say to myself As long as I don't get a rash and sore throat hopefully everything will be fine. Well here it goes day 6 i notice redness on the shaft of my penis and on the glans penis, I wash it with soap and its gone the next day. 5 days later same thing happens and wash with soap and the next day it is gone. this happens for about 3 more episodes. Then Day 17 little tingle at the posterior aspect of my left pharynx which only causes discomfort when i try to swallow something. I can't seem to shake this sore throat (had it for 3 weeks) so I see an MD who gives me penicillin. The next day the sore throat disappears. Then day 56 having difficulty gaining full breaths and lower extremity (legs) soreness. SOB lasted 5 days and the sore legs still persist (we R @ day 90). I waited so long to get to day 90 now I am so scared to get tested. My 2 closest freinds who I have disclosed this situation with live in diff. states and I guess I just feel like writing this site b/c it feels as if I can get something off my chest and perhaps get a response. I haven't slept more than 3 full hours at night and have consumed approximately 18 beers a day on average for the past 12 weeks. I expressed to my wife I have alot of stress at work and as a result cannot be intimate d/t the work situation. I am obsessed with these symptoms and of course alongside are those suicidal thoughts that I can't seem to shake. The sad thing is that even if I really wanted to hurt myself I could not. I have no siblings and would literally put my folks in the grave if I even attempted something like that. My remedy of consuming massive amounts of beer is getting old and I don't know how to deal with it. I guess in short I am losing it or I have already lost it and I am holding on by one remaining thread. Well thats my story. By the way if every thing works out like a fairy tale, meaning of course that I test -'ve I would like to come to your foundation and donate a minimum of 1000$. Now if things work out for the worst I will still donate although it may only be 200-300$ seeing as I probably will be picking up the bill for my meds. Nonetheless thank you for being the person you are and the person who ispires so many people in so many ways. Thank-You

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

I "ispire" people? Hmmm . . . not sure what that is, but I'll take it as a compliment.

Now I need you to put that Heineken down and step away from the brewskis . . . . That's right, nice and slow; keep those hands where I can see them. OK, now as soon as you sober up a bit, we can discuss the wheels falling off your wagon in Texas. Hmmm . . . I thought everyone in Texas drove gas guzzling SUV's that increase our dependence on foreign fuel (oil) and contribute to greenhouse gases, thereby ruining our environment, contributing to air pollution and worsening global warming. I guess wagons (even those old fake wood-paneled "station-wagon" things they used to be so fond of) would be an improvement. But I digress

OK, first let's look at your actual degree of HIV risk, OK? The estimated per-act risk for acquisition of HIV resulting form insertive penile-vaginal sex (even in Texas) is 5 per 10,000 exposures to a partner confirmed to be HIV positive. Your estimated risk would be less, because we do not know the HIV status of the cowgal that rode the wheels off your wagon. Yippy-aye-ay, indeed.

Next, your symptoms intermittent redness on your Mr. Happy that resolves with soap, a tingling left pharynx that resolved on penicillin within 24 hours, SOB for five days, and sore legs. None of these conditions is suggestive of HIV ARS or HIV disease.

Now on to your real problems:

1. Guilt "first time in my life of 33 years I have ever been unfaithful," refusing to have sex with your wife, suicidal thoughts, etc. There is no doubt your wild ride in Texas has had a significant psychological impact.

2. Irrational fear: "I am obsessed with these symptoms;" "I am losing it or I have already lost it;" "I haven't slept more than 3 full hours at night and have consumed approximately 18 beers a day on average for the past 12 weeks." Dude, at that rate, you'll need detox, rehab, AA and a good 12-step program more than an HIV test.

Let's sum up. You have had a single episode of unprotected sex that does place you at some degree of risk for STDs, including HIV; however, statistically that risk is very low less than 5 per 10,000. Your symptoms are consistent with anxiety, stress and depression, not HIV. You are having considerable guilt fueling your psychological trauma over this whole incident. Your current method to cope is self-destructive brewski abuse. You "know" I will say "get tested," so I won't disappoint you. Dude, get tested! I also recommend confronting your guilt, anxiety and irrational fears. Leveling with your wife is the best way to deal with your guilt. Counseling would also be worthwhile for that issue, as well as for your anxiety, irrational fears and perhaps even for your alcohol abuse.

Thank you for your willingness to make a donation to my foundation. This demonstrates your underlying compassionate and generous soul. I hope I can "ispire" you to do what you already know needs to be done. All the odds are in your favor. HIV test results are back within 20 minutes, probably less time than it takes you to guzzle a six-pack, so don't delay. Get a move-on little doggie, because I'm betting there are nothin' but "happy trails to you" in your future.

I'll be expecting a Texas-sized WOO-HOO very soon.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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