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Arab worried about something more than Bush!

Jun 27, 2006

Doctor, Though all Arabs agree that we have bigger problems in the world, my mind is being eaten away by my worry.

I am impressed by your ability to answer questions in multiple languages. There is no way to type in Arabic on this site or I would have asked this question in Arabic (and perhaps being the polyglot that you are, you could have replied in Arabic too). You truly are helping people from all round the world.

I have a simple question (that has been answered to some extent) but I need three little clarifications: (1) I rubbed a stripper's vagina(don't know her status), no visible vaginal fluids came on my hand, BUT there was a little tear in my cuticle, what is my risk? (2) I have read a lot about this in your archives, but "theoretical risk" and "yet not documented" - but this is not providing me any solace. Can I comfortably think of my incident as no risk? I will never do this again. (3) Do I need to get tested for this incident? (I am otherwise sexually abstinent, not because of the sex-ed programs in your country) but just for cultural reasons. If so, can I get one in 6 weeks or should I wait 12 weeks? About ARS, how early can these symptoms start?

I am sorry to be so direct in my questions, but please I am looking for definitive answers and cannot discuss this with anyone else here. Please answer me specifically about all the three questions.

And, having been educated in the US, I know that there are a lot of great people like you in the US, to combat the "fundamentalists"there. Hopefully, there and here, we can focus on real problems like disease and poverty instead of fake ones. I will be most happy to make a donation to your foundation. Please let me know how.

Response from Dr. Frascino


I'm glad you decided to post your questions in English. My polyglotism doesn't extend to Arabic, but maybe we could try Swahili or Ebonics??? OK, on to your questions:

1. Essentially nonexistent.

2. I would characterize your risk as essentially nonexistent. (Please note that term could include both "theoretical risk" and "no documented cases.")

3. I do not believe testing is warranted or necessary; however, if you are worried, testing may well be the most effective and efficient way to put those unwarranted fears to rest permanently. A rapid HIV test will provide results in 20 minutes. If you do decide to test, wait for the three-month mark, as tests taken prior to this are not considered conclusive.

4. ARS (Acute Retroviral Syndrome) symptoms can vary quite a bit form person to person. I'll reprint a post from the archives that addresses this topic.

Finally, donation information for The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation can be found on the foundation's Web site at

I'll send my best good-luck/good-health karma that you are HIV negative and that the fundamentalists in both our countries will be enlightened to embrace peace.

Dr. Bob

do i need a therapist or an hiv test ??!?!?!?! May 19, 2006

Dr. Bob, I emailed a few days ago and no response yet. I know you are incredibly busy spreading woo hoos and excellent advice, but this is killing me! Just a few questions: 1. You are often saying that "symptoms are not consistent with.." Well, what would be consistent with HIV? 2. What would the symptoms of an overactive immune system be? I have two lymph nodes on the back of my neck that often swell for a few days and then subside...then swell again. TRUST ME! They are swollen! The vicious cycle just keeps repeating for months! Also, I have experienced discomfort in my armpit area- just away from armpit, closer to bicep. Are these signs of HIV? 3. Is an HIV test routine during early pregnancy? Please help! After my possible exposure, I had about two weeks of malaise (no fever or rash) at the 7-8 week mark. I just haven't felt the same since- more allergy-like symptoms. I feel invaded! If ya know what I mean....any words of advice are greatly appreciated. Could you please tell me where to donate? Thank you!

Response from Dr. Frascino


1. I've addressed this topic many times before. I'll repost a question from the archives below.

2. What you describe is not consistent with HIV. "TRUST ME!" A discussion of an overactive immune system is beyond the scope of this forum and you don't have it. "TRUST ME!" I cannot diagnose the cause of your intermittently swollen glands over the Internet.

3. The test should be offered, but I cannot say if it's "routine" in your area or not. Shouldn't you be asking your obstetrician?

4. If you've placed yourself at risk for HIV, you'll need to get an HIV test at the three-month mark, whether or not you have symptoms.

5. Donation information for The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation can be found on our Web site at Our address is:

The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation 1000 Fremont Ave., Suite 145 Los Altos, CA 94024

You're welcome!

Good luck!

Dr. Bob

need the truth, help me Dr Bob, another donation sent (ARS SYMPTOMS) May 13, 2006

You are an inspiration to all people to help each other. My prayers are with you. Please tell me what you consider to be ARS symptoms, when do they appear and how long do they last? Are any of the symptoms, or lack of specific symptoms, indictive of hiv infection or not. I know symptoms do not equal hiv, but please give me your opinion on these questions. Thanks.

Response from Dr. Frascino


I've addressed this topic many times before, so I'll just repost a question and my response from the archives. Nothing really has changed. Between 50% and 70% of individuals with HIV infection experience an acute retroviral syndrome three to six weeks after primary infection. Symptoms usually persist for one to several weeks and then gradually subside as the immune response to HIV develops and the level of plasma viremia decreases.

Hope that helps.

Dr. Bob

What are symptoms of ARS? May 23, 2004


I am an x-filer who still follows your forum for laughs, information, and curiosity. I realize that mostly people who write in to this particular forum merely think that they were exposed to HIV, and only a very, very small handful actually were. And an even smaller handful actually contract the virus.

My question to you is this: Seeing as how there is so much conflicting information out there regarding HIV and HIV ARS, could you please shed a little light on what you might consider a "typical" case of ARS?

And if I'm not stepping way out of line here, would you mind discussing what ARS was like for you? I completely understand if you don't feel that this is something for the masses, but there are many positive benefits to hearing things firsthand.

Regardless, I will continue to donate to Concerted Effort, and wish you all the best!

Response from Dr. Frascino


I don't believe there is such a thing as a "typical" case of ARS or a "compassionate" conservative. ARS symptoms vary greatly from person to person, and may be so mild as to go essentially unnoticed or be so severe as to be debilitating. I can give you the frequency in the form of percentages of various signs and symptoms of primary HIV infection. Perhaps that will help. Fever 96%, enlarge lymph nodes 74%, sore throat 70%, rash 70%, muscle aches 54%, diarrhea 32%, headache 32%, nausea and vomiting 27%, enlarged liver/spleen 14%, weight loss 13%, thrush 12%, neurologic symptoms 12%. Remember, however, that symptoms, even all of the above listed symptoms, do not equal HIV disease. There are many illnesses that can cause these symptoms. The only way to know if you've contracted HIV is to get tested.

My ARS included seven of the symptoms listed above.

Thanks for your willingness to donate. Details about the Foundation can be found at

Stay well.

Dr. Bob

You're the best!

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