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Bizarre stripper story from Canada - PLEASE HELP!
Nov 12, 2005

Hello,

Before I dive into my question, I just want to say that I appreciate your work. I didnt know much about HIV before going to your website and I find the information very helpful. A donation will be in the mail shortly. I apologize for the lengthy posting, but I feel that this potential exposure was a bit odd and that some additional background information is required for you to fully understand my situation.

I never thought Id ever be concerned about HIV or about any other STD ever in my life. Im a straight married man who has only had 4 very low-risk female sexual partners in my life (including my wife). My wife was a virgin when we met and Im the only sex partner she has ever had. Shes the only person Ive been with sexually in over 5 years. Upon her request, I tested for HIV at the beginning of the relationship and I was negative. With the exception of my wife, condoms were always used in all of my previous sexual activities and those were mainly used to protect against pregnancy as most of my girlfriends were virgins when we met and STDs were never much of a concern on either side. Ive also never done any drugs other than pot. The point that Im trying to make with this information is that I would have been in one of the lowest risk categories possible for HIV had it not been for one certain unfortunate event.

On May 27, 2005 I was at a strip club in Kingston Canada. I dont frequent the strippers very often, but when I do I make sure that I am just there to look and never to touch. Ive never had a lap dance or even gotten within a few feet of any of the dancers.

So anyway, heres the bizarre and unfortunate series of events that transpired that night:

I was sitting near the stage at the strip club with a few of my friends. We were drinking our cheap beer, telling jokes and having a good time. We were out for a fun night with the guys after a long week of classes. There were two dancers on the stage at the time. One of the dancers started squeezing water from plastic bottles into her vagina. The pressure of the water would build up until she removed the water bottle from her vagina at which point the water would squirt out into the crowd. Ive never seen anything done like this before, it seemed very unusual to me.

I didnt realize that I was the next intended target and I got covered with the water. It was all over my hair, on my face and in my eyes. Talk about disgusting! I realize that the odds of contacting HIV through the eyes in a situation like this is low (less than 1%), but I think it wasnt my lucky day. I wasnt worried about HIV much at first. I went back to the hotel and showered quite intensely and pretty well forgot about the whole thing the next day. At the time, I was under the impression that you actually had to have sex in order to get a SEXually transmitted disease.

About a week after this incident I started an unexplained dry hacking cough. A few more weeks after that, all hell broke loose. I had loose stools (sometimes green), trouble swallowing, loss of appetite, lost 15 pounds of weight in a two week period, difficulty breathing, frequent chills and tiredness, red spots and brown spots began surfacing on skin, a really gross skin ulcer formed on my arm, warts appeared on my feet, and finally, the whites of my eyes turned gray with lots of red veins visible. My beard had even stopped growing as fast as it use to. By this point I started realizing that something was definitely wrong and it probably had something to do with that night at the strippers. I had been very healthy before the incident at the club, so it was logical to conclude that my ill health and that event were somehow related.

I have since tested negative for HIV twice, once at three months and once at 4 months. I also tested negative for syphilis and hepatitis B at 3 months. Before you tell me that my worrying has caused these symptoms, I can tell you that I hadnt been to a single HIV website before my first test so I had no idea what the symptoms even were. Ive since talked to numerous doctors, all of which tell me that the problem is in my head. Im quite sure that it is not just in my head, and I am getting tired of hearing that excuse by doctors who are too lazy to investigate further. I can understand how excessive worrying can cause a few of these symptoms but not all of them in combination.

A CD4 count at four months also came back normal. Despite the fact that all of the doctors tell me that I am fine, I know for a fact that my body is not okay. I even managed to track down the agent for the stripper that sprayed me with the water and he says that she is no longer in the business because she is stoned out. Part of me is wondering if shes dying of AIDS and she was using the water gimmick as a sick way of intentionally spreading her infection. I feel enormous regret for letting this incident happen and have considered suicide.

Finally, here are my questions:

1)Is it possible that my body has not yet produced enough antibodies to be detectable even though I feel as if I have already experienced the flu symptoms that are usually accompanied by sero-conversion? Im planning on going for another test at the 6 month mark which is in two more weeks.

2)Even though the chances are low of contracting HIV from this particular exposure, it is still within the realms of possibility, correct?

3)Is it possible that I have some uncommon strain of HIV that is not being picked up by the ELISA test? Should I request another type of test from my doctors?

4)I believe that the skin ulcer I experienced (which has now healed but it has left a scar) and some of the brown lesions on my body could be Kaposis Sarcoma. The doctors disagree and say that the time line between the potential HIV exposure and the ulcer appearing was too short. Is it possible that I was infected with both HIV and HHV8 simultaneously which could explain the short time span between the symptoms of the two diseases? This girl was a stripper after-all and she could have had any number of diseases.

5)If this it is not HIV that I am suffering from, what the heck else could it be?

Thanks for your time. I appreciate any help you can provide. Again, I apologize for the lengthiness of this posting. The check is in the mail.

Signed,

In the wrong place at the wrong time

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Wow, a stripper squirt-gun??? Hmmm . . . . I seem to remember a similar trick with ping-pong balls, but that's another story . . . .

Let me proceed directly to your specific questions and then I'll comment on your Badda Bing Splish Splash Surprise.

1. No. You are HIV negative. I do not fee additional HIV testing is warranted or necessary. If you do test again at six months, which is always an option open to you, it will be negative.

2. No. I would say the chances of HIV transmission from the episode you describe would be so vanishingly minute as to be essentially nonexistent.

3. No and no.

4. No. what you describe is not even consistent with Kaposi sarcoma.

5. I cannot diagnose the cause of your symptoms over the Internet; however, I can tell you conclusively what's not causing them. It's not HIV.

I do not doubt that your symptoms are/were indeed real. However, from the medical evaluations you've had so far "numerous doctors," normal CD4 count and negative HIV ELISA tests at three and four months following an exposure, which at bet can be characterized as nearly nonexistent I can definitively and conclusively state that your fixation on HIV as the cause is untenable.

From what you have told me, you have been thoroughly evaluated for STDs, including HIV, and have even had a CD4 count (although I can see no reason that this test should even have been ordered), which was normal. You have had "numerous doctors" evaluate your residual symptoms and apparently no physical cause has been identified yet. Consequently, I suggest you focus on your current medical problem depression. You state you have "considered suicide." That statement alone indicates you are clinically severely depressed. Fears that water-spouting strippers are intentionally spreading AIDS are paranoid. I ask you to consider the possibility that the numerous doctors are not giving you "excuses" and are not "too lazy to investigate further," but rather are giving you sound advice. Think about it a moment. Why would numerous doctors all be "too lazy to investigate further???" I strongly urge you to seek the help of a psychiatrist without delay, particularly because you have had thoughts of suicide. Bring a copy of this question and response to your first visit and show it to your psychiatrist. It will help that physician focus your treatment. The psychiatrist will work closely with your general medical physician (internist) to sort out both your physical and psychological problems.

Even though you feel you were in "the wrong place at the wrong time," I hope you will follow my advice, as now is the "right time" for you to get the help you need. And a psychiatrist's office is the "right place" for you to receive that help. With proper treatment of your very real medical problem, I believe you will soon be on the mend!

Thank you for your donation.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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