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Wrote Once Before...Simplifying This Time.
Jul 9, 2006

I had PROTECTED sex with an extremely promiscious woman (I must stress promiscious) 2 weeks ago. I then experienced EXTREMELY dry facial skin. Flaky, dry, and very uncharacteristic of my skin.

I'm not going to lie to you. I'm one of those types that reads some symptoms online, freaks out about everything, and goes to particular sites such as these searching for answers. I have looked at Wikipedia's HIV article (very useful, by the way), and seen the extremely low chances of getting HIV from protected vaginal intercourse). My question is basic. Waiting 3 months to take the test would be a brutal wait for me.

... What do you think about PCR tests (as a testing method that doesn't require you to wait 3 months before difinitive results)

I'm a college student, so my research on PCR might be way off base. Any answer you can give me would be most appreciated. Thanks.

PS. I was suprised to hear that you were HIV positive. Do you have a gloomier outlook on life now? Or have you learned to appreciate life more?

Thanks,

Anonymous.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Anonymous,

You might stress "promiscious" whatever the hell that is! I, on the other hand, would stress "protected." HIV cannot pass through intact latex, no matter how skanky the person on the other side of the latex may happen to be. So if the latex condom was used properly and did not fail, you were indeed "protected" and your HIV risk would be essentially nonexistent.

Regarding HIV testing in general, I do not recommend PCR testing, due to the rate of false positives, cost and a variety of technical concerns. You can read about this in the archives, as I've addressed this topic extensively before on many occasions.

Next, why be "surprised to hear" I'm virally enhanced??? There are over 40,000,000 of us worldwide and HIV really doesn't discriminate. Even we HIV specialists don't get a pass when it comes to viral infections.

Do I have a gloomier outlook on life now??? Hmmm . . . you must be new here, aren't you? If you were a regular reader, I doubt you'd call my outlook gloomy. One that's for certain, I'm definitely not "one of those types that read some symptoms online and freaks out about everything . . . ." (That actually sounds somewhat gloomy to me). I'll post something from the archives that addresses my positive attitude about being positive. I would encourage you to spend some time reviewing the information in the archives, not in a desperate search for symptoms, but rather as a way to get informed about the facts surrounding HIV and perhaps also to learn a bit about life and health along the way.

Dr. Bob

What Happened to you Dr. Bob Jan 8, 2006

Hi Doc,

Please please do not get offended by this question...I have been perusing your responses to these questions for a long time now, and I am thoroughly stunned by you compassion, patience and understanding. You cause me to aspire to be a better person. But my question is, how on earth did you become infected? I wasn't aware of this fact until i read your reply to "suicidal with symptoms", and I've been heartbroken since. I pray as i write this that i do not come across as patronizing or pitiful, because you are doing more good with your life than any 100 people i know combined. But I just can't believe somoeone so attractive, smart and sophisticated has to suffer this disease. If you don't mind, can you share your story with us, as we all love you. I'm so impressed with your accomplishments and dedication, despite being positive, as I know if it were me I wouldn't be able to cope, i just don't think i'm strong enough. Please, if you want to tell me to mind my own beeswax and go "f" myself, feel free.

Yours,

A concerned friend

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Concerned Friend,

No, I'm certainly not offended! Being "virally enhanced" has been such a part of my life for so long, I sometimes forget those who only more recently tuned into the Forum may not realize I'm HIV positive. My story was splashed across the news media TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, medical journals, etc. when I went public with my story a decade ago (1996). In reality I don't believe the manner in which I became infected should matter. I'm no more guilty or innocent than anyone else who never wanted to acquire this scourge! However, I do realize people are curious and that the "story" is out there so I'll briefly mention it to save you the trouble of Googling it. The virus found me while I was working. I sustained a hollow-bore needle puncture and laceration while performing a medical procedure on a patient with advanced-stage AIDS. Despite yelling a few "expletives deleted" and taking AZT (the only thing we had for PEP in January of 1991) within moments of the incident, I seroconverted to HIV positive a few months later. You can search the archives and review additional information in my biography on this site or at The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation Web site (www.concertedeffort.org). I'll also post a recent question that I hope will address your question about being able to cope with adversity.

Your beeswax is always welcomed here.

Stay well.

Dr. Bob

Dr. Bob, What about you? Sep 6, 2004

Hello Dr. Bob,

I want to start by simply saying thank you for all of the work that you do each day on this site. You bring so much comfort and knowledge to people. You are a very compassionate and caring man. Perhaps it doesn't surprise you that we (your devote fans) are just as caring and concerned about you. Some of us can't help but wonder how you are doing with this disease. What is your status in terms of viral load and CD4? How do you find strength each day to go on? and what can we do for you to help you with this very trying time in your life?

You do not have to answer this if you do not want to. We just simply want to know about someone we love. And I mean that Dr. Bob.

Your Friend Always

William

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi William,

What a pleasure to read a question that isn't self-centered and related to a lap dance from a bisexual cross-dressing transsexual Mormon midget! There were so many of those types of questions coming in from New York City last week ahhh, the fools and fanatics of the GOP Convention!!!

The best word for my viral load and CD4 count at the moment would be "stable." How am I doing with the disease? Well, according to the statistics at the time the virus found me in January of 1991, I shouldn't even be here, so I'd say I'm doing quite well. Sure, at times I feel as though I'm living on borrowed time. As I've said before, I really do believe we measure life in the wrong dimension. A life shouldn't be measured merely in length, but rather in depth. In many ways, perhaps because of HIV and the depth of my experiences, I've never felt more alive.

I won't say that cohabitating with HIV is easy. It's not. The drugs that keep me alive are science's classic double-edged sword causing not only great benefits but also some not-so-great side effects. At times I can be so exhausted I need to take a nap before going to bed. Once asleep, I can sometimes have my very own version of a "wet dream," a drenching night sweat that has, on occasion, made me wonder if I should wear a lifejacket and flippers to bed. At times I look at our linen closet and refrigerator, and see that it's now decorated in "nouveau pharmacy" style. Mack trucks deliver my medications in Godzilla-sized containers. Like so many other virally enhanced folks, I've had my fair share of HIV-related complications, but I see no point in dwelling on them. In life, as in playing cards, you can't choose the cards you are dealt, but you can definitely choose how to play these cares. Perhaps that's the real secret of living well on borrowed time. I also freely admit having Steve (Dr. Steve in The Body's Tratamientos Forum) to share life, love, sex, and other unscheduled events makes me the luckiest guy on the planet.

Here is my two-rule manifesto for living well with HIV: 1. "This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. The being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy . . . . Life is no brief candle for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations." George Bernard Shaw

2. Always remember the wise advice of rule number 1. Thanks for your concern and friendship, William. I find that compassion and generosity, when freely given to those in need, is returned a thousand fold.

Stay well, William.

Your friend,

Dr. Bob



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