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Guillain-Barre and HIV

May 8, 2006

Hi Dr. Bob,

I've been reading the archives and questions over the past two days and I am very impressed and enlightened by the work you do an the inspiring advice you give. I will definitely donate to the cause...

My story is like quite a few others; however, It has a bit of a twist.

I was on a business trip a few weeks ago in Southern California. I took a trip to Tijuana with a few friends and as some others have said, I did something really stupid that I now regret. I'm in a relationship, so this is the first time I've done something like this. As most, I think it was due to the amount of alcohol I had drunk. Anyways, I received unprotected oral sex from her for about 5 mins and then a condom was put on and we had protected vaginal intercourse. Not sure why, but I also pulled out as I was cumming. When I removed the condom, it was still intact and I didn't notice anything unusual.

A few days later I had indigestion and a stomach ache. I then had a day of diarhea. Its just over a week later now, and I went to Emergency because I had numbness and tingling in my feet,legs, arms and hands. The doctor's I saw were suggesting that I had a "Gullain-Barre" type of illness. I'm scheduled to see a neurologist in a day or two.

Due to the encounter I had, my brain is making me think that the two are somewhat related. From reading up on the HIV disease it seems unusual to show any symptoms that early after exposure. I had also told the doctor that i had protected sex with someone I didn't know. He said as long as I used a condom, these symptoms wouldn't be related to any type of STD.

So my questions are ...

1. Are the risks of contracting HIV from this experience quite low? I think I have read that they are from the archives, but I'm just curious to check.

2. Could this "Gullain-Barre" like illness be a pre-cursor to HIV?

From what I've read, I think the likelyhood of contracting HIV is very very small from my experience, but just to put my mind at rest and to protect my partner, I plan to get tested at the 3 month timeframe that you suggest quite a bit.

Looking forward to your response.


Confused and Concerned

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Confused and Concerned,

Proceeding directly to your specific questions:

1. Extremely low. Protected sex is "protected," if the latex condom was used properly and did not fail. Insertive oral sex carries an extremely low risk for HIV acquisition.

2. No.

Even though your brain is trying to link your Tijuana adventure and your "Guillain-Barré"-type illness, I see no possible connection with HIV. Sure, lots of folks get indigestion, stomach ache and diarrhea after a trip to Tijuana, particularly if they stop at Montezuma's Revenge Taqueria; however, this has nothing to do with HIV. I also question the "Guillain-Barré" diagnosis. Hopefully the visit to the neurologist cleared that up.

I agree with your plan to get HIV tested at the three-month mark to set your mind at ease. Try not to worry in the interim and don't let your mind make connections that don't really exist. For instance try keeping your brain busy playing Sudoku!

Thanks for your willingness to make a gift to help those in need. ( In return, I'm sending my best good-luck/good-health karma that your three-month test will be negative! (I really am quite confident it will indeed be negative!)

Good luck.

Dr. Bob


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