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Testing...? Should I worry?
Jun 3, 2006

Dear Doctor Bob:

First and foremost, I can not tell you how much I agree with you that HIV awareness needs to start with educating our youth. I took your advice several months back and started participating in after school programs. Thank you. It is rewarding and most of all, I feel like I am helping such an important cause.

Onto my questions...I am a married male. Prior to marriage (four years ago), I engaged in a lot of mutual masturbation and oral sex (gave and received) with men. The oral was a one time only occurrence and only lasted a minute with no ejaculation. The rest of my activities with men were ONLY mutual masturbation sessions.

Being married for the past four years, my wife and I have had unprotected sex throughout our relationship. We also just had our first child together. As part of pregnancy tests she had two HIV tests and both came back negative.

My questions are the following:

1. Considering I engaged in mutual masturbation with men (don't know their status), was this a safe activity? What if I was in contact with semen? I can't recall

2. I gave oral sex ONCE my whole life. I am VERY WORRIED about this activity. Should I be? Remember there was no ejaculation.

3. Considering my wife tested negative for HIV during pregnancy and we have had sex MANY times throughout our relationship, can I assume I am fine? I've heard of spouses not being infected when their partner is positive. Is this something I should worry about? Could I rely on her test that I am fine?

I think it is important to note that I NEVER had vaginal intercourse with anyone but my wife and NEVER EVER had anal intercourse with men. I was a virgin when I meant my wife, but did engage in the above activities until deciding heterosexual life was the path I wanted to pursue during my life journey.

Please Doctor Bob, can you tell me if I should be concerned? I do suffer from anxiety and don't want to pursue testing if it is not warranted. Again, please keep in mind my mutual masturbation activities and one time oral activity (gave oral).

Thank you for all you do.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

It seems that your men-on-men activities continue to haunt you. This is a psychological issue you are going to ultimately have to address.

Regarding your specific questions:

1. Mutual masturbation is not considered a risk for HIV transmission.

2. Oral sex carries a very low risk for HIV transmission. Should you be worried? No. However, if you are, a 20-minute rapid test will give you a definitive result and calm your residual fears.

3. No. No one can determine their HIV status based on only knowing the status of his or her partner. If you want to know your HIV status, you need to get tested.

I suggest you consider getting some counseling to help you address not only your irrational HIV fears, but also any residual concerns you may have about "deciding heterosexual life was the path I wanted to pursue . . . ." Your sexual orientation is not a choice, although you can choose to accept it or suppress it. The important point is to be honest with yourself about who you are, what you are doing and why you are doing it.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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