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It's affecting me greatly in Singapore
Aug 20, 2005

Dear Bob,

I managed to find some assuring answers from your archives. However, what happened last night has caused me much more worries. I now can't get on with a normal life. I spend all my hours at work trawling through the internet for answers. Here are my concerns.

About a fortnight ago, I received oral sex from a local gal in a Bangkok pub. She licked me all over my body and was very passionate. We also had a kiss on the lips. Then all of a sudden, she started sucking on my penis. I freaked and dashed straight to wash up my penis. That exposure was less than 10 seconds and probably only covered half of my penis. She then proceeded to perform oral sex on me with a condom. I ejaculated in the condom while my penis was in her mouth. When I removed the condom, she then fondled my penis which I tried to shrug off. There was some physical contact after all. After 5-10 minutes, she performed another protected oral sex on me. This lasted less than 2 minutes and I didn't ejaculate. Some 15 minutes later, I proceeded to shower and felt a small pain near the base of my penis.

Please assess my risk factor for me. The morning after that encounter, I saw some abrasion like skin on my penis. It doesnt look like a sore. And I also noticed my urethra opening to be red. I'm seriously worried that I may have gotten infected through these wounds. And I also have a cut on my lips. It seems like I got it a day after the kiss but I just want to be sure.

My self diagnosed ARS symptoms are as follows. Itches all over the body, including areas where rashes are. Some rashes look like mosquito bites but some are just red spots (since day 3/4). Night sweat and Slight headache last night (day 12). Nausea sometimes. Fatigue sometimes. Swollen neck lymph nodes (since day 11). Though I can't confirm what swollen lymoph nodes really are, I assume I have cause my neck aches and feels squeezed. Tingly and numb sensations in my left leg sometimes. Congested nose especially at nights and mornings (since day 3). And I always check my body temperature, sometimes my forehead feels cold and sometimes really warm. I have yet to develop a fever or flu. But I know if I do, I would die very soon.

I'm doing this at work and I really hope you can help. I'm overwhelmed by these symptoms and I fear being HIV positive. It seems like I'm getting all the symptoms with ARS. I can't get on with my life.

I've seen a GP but it seems like I know more about HIV than he does. He gave an assessment of my rashes and said they could be chicken pox or STDs. Then I called the AIDS counselling hotline in my country and got 2 contrasting views. Both told me the risk from oral sex is low but one said that it is possible that HIV rashes itch and advised that I get tested asap. He even said that I could get tested 72 hours after exposure. While the other said that HIV rashes generally don't itch and I shouldn't worry. These are professional counsellors and it seems that their advice only add to my ever growing burden of fears.

Dear Bob, I know this is long. But please help me. I would be incosolable if I am the 1 in 20,000. I would appreciate if you could help with the following questions. And I promise to donate once I Woo-Hoo! I would really love to be a worried well.

1. If her saliva does indeed get into my blood stream, do I run a high risk of infection? I haven't seen any visible blood in her mouth but I can't discount the fact that she may have open sores. And she had transvestite friends when I picked her up.

2. Are my symptoms indicative of HIV infection? I would want to get tested but I would have to be psychologically prepared before I could. I am a working professional and I have too much on my mind with work to let this bog me down. I can't handle a positive result.

3. Could my symptoms be due to stress? I tried to convince myself so but I hate false confidence. It just shatters you when you get the truth.

Please reply me. I swear I would donate, nothing matters more now than good health. I would even save enough to pay you a visit in the States if I can Woo-Hoo.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

I'll proceed directly to your three specific questions first:

1. No. 2. No. 3. Yes.

Your HIV risk is negligible. Your symptoms are not consistent with HIV ARS. A single HIV-antibody test at three months will give you a definitive result; however, the primary reason to get tested for such a minimal risk would be for peace of mind and to calm your unwarranted fears. If your anxiety over this issue remains a problem, consider getting counseling. I'll look forward to your definitive WOO-HOO.

Good luck (although I doubt you'll need it).

Dr. Bob



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