Just Wanted to Share My Story
Oct 28, 2005
Hi Dr. Bob,
I've been reading your forum diligently over the past few days and have gained a lot of insight, so I thank you for that.
I wanted to share a story (still in progress) which is causing me a great deal of stress that maybe some other readers may relate to on some level.
I have had unprotected sex (insertive/receptive and oral) with a poz identified partner. In the first instance, we started using condoms and then at some point he initiated insertion without a condom. I don't know why but I didn't object and we continued. At this point I didn't know he was positive and he didn't know I was negative (tested recently).
After a few dates we slept together again and he lubed my penis and sat on it. (Really, I thought he was initiating something else but then voila, suddenly I was inside him.) Afterwards, I said that I know we haven't addressed this yet but I just want you to know that I am negative, to which he responded that that was not the case for him and that he was positive. I was in shock, angry at him but even more angry with myself.
In all instances of sex on both occasions neither of us came inside the other but there could have been pre-cum. I didn't notice any blood or anything else like that.
I opted not to go on PEP (still wondering if that was the right choice or not) because three weeks had passed since the first exposure. I had heard that if I had become positive from the first exposure, taking PEP could build a resistance to drugs which may be used should I become positive.
I've looked at your forum and I've seen the probabilies of infection from these sorts of exposure. I haven't had any symptoms typical of seroconversion and in fact believe it would be too early for that anyway.
Yesterday, three weeks after the first exposure, I had a blood test and will get the results tomorrow. I'd scheduled this appointment a month ago so decided to go ahead with it anyway. I realize that I'll need to retest at the three month mark.
I just wanted to share this with your readers, partly because I have needed to tell someone; I'm not ready to share my act of stupidity with friends. I also wanted to share it as it relates to disclosure and responsiblity on both sides. I'm upset, depressed and angry as a result and it could have been so easily avoided. I guess I'll stop beating myself up now.
Any comments/thoughts would be greatly appreciated. I hope you hear from me in a few months with a big WOO HOO!
Response from Dr. Frascino
Comments and thoughts? Sure . . . .
1. Don't be too hard on yourself. We are all human. We all make mistakes. (Yes, even yours truly!) The important thing is to admit our mistakes, accept the consequences of our actions and learn form our indiscretions. Remember life only goes in one direction -- forward! We can't undo what happened yesterday, but we can choose what to do (or not do) today and tomorrow!
2. We must assume that all our sexual partners could be HIV positive and take the necessary precautions to avoid HIV infection (or reinfection, if already positive). Safer sex precautions should, of course, also be employed to prevent other STDs as well.
3. If someone has a significant HIV exposure, they should not avoid PEP due to concerns of developing antiretroviral drug resistance, assuming the PEP is taken as prescribed. In your particular case, unprotected insertive and receptive anal sex with a partner confirmed to be HIV positive, I would have encouraged PEP be taken if it could be started within 72 hours of the exposure. Whether PEP is (was) taken or not, I agree you need follow-up HIV testing.
I'll send you my best good-luck karma that your tests will be negative.
Thanks for sharing your story. I'm here if you need me.
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