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Advice for people during waiting period
Apr 15, 2006

Hi Bob. I was the guy who wrote the following question: "Some relief" on March 28, 2006. I was exposed to an HIV positive woman (insertive/vaginal), and had just had a test at 10 1/2 weeks. I have now had my 3 month test and received the results.

Before I tell you my results, I would like to give some advice to people who might be going through their 3 month wait.

1. Whatever the result, you will probably still live a long and fulfilling life. Do not contemplate suicide at any stage (like I did), because you cannot predict the future, and you might as well make the most of your circumstances.

2. Keep the odds of infection at the front of your mind at all times. Research the probabilities (they are on this site, or at wikipedia) and keep reminding yourself that you are probably going to turn out alright - cautious optimism makes so much more sense than paranoia.

3. Don't become obsessed with symptoms. If you spot an odd looking boil, doing twenty hours of Google research is not going to reassure you. You will always "find" symptoms that "prove" you have HIV regardless.

4. When your results come out, remind yourself repeatedly that the initial exposure was not worth it, no matter how good it might have felt at the time. Keep that in mind forever, and spread the word.

And now for my final results: I contracted absolutely nothing whatsoever. No HIV. Nada. Celebrations are in the making, but it is a pyrrhic victory.

Unfortunately, I now suffer from insomnia, depression, migraine and countless other conditions. It may take some time to get over it all, but at least there is something to live for.

Oh, nearly forgot.

5. Give generously to Dr Bob ($100 coming your way!). He can use your money better than you can. Besides, having no money will stop you doing something really stupid - like celebrating your HIV-negative status with a night on the town, getting really drunk, and messing around with hookers...and being forced through another insane 3 month ordeal.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Congratulations! A "pyrrhic" (great word, by the way) victory is still a victory! I have no doubt you are on the mend and that your "countless conditions" will being magically disappearing as the reality of your HIV-negative status sinks in. Thanks for taking the time to write in and share your wonderful news and insightful comments. In addition to your list, I would add spending some time volunteering, helping others who are much less fortunate, visiting an AIDS hospice or children's cancer ward, reading to the blind or participating in any similar activity that allows us to put our own worries and problems in their proper perspective.

Thank you also for your very generous tax-deductible donation to The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation. I can assure you your one gift will touch many lives in a very meaningful way. It's compassion like yours that in concert with all our efforts will speed the day that HIV/AIDS is nothing more than a bad memory. That day, too, will be a pyrrhic victory, but also one worth celebrating.

Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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