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Worrying is my specialty
Jul 18, 2006

Dear Doctor,

I'm a 27 year old straight female who has never used IV drugs. I had some pretty wild times back in college, but always protected. A few years ago, I had a long term relationship with someone I'll call "A-Hole." I thought we were monogamous (sound farmiliar?) but it turns out I was wrong. We didn't use condoms all the time. He wasn't an IV drug user or bisexual as far as I could tell, but he did have a penchant for sleeping with other women. Since then, this was almost 5 years ago now, I've had two other serious relationships. Both men are confirmed negative. I got checked out after my relationship with A-Hole, and had STD testing done, but my doctor didn't feel it necessary to test me for HIV. The STD tests were all clear, as they have been ever since ( I get them regularly). My worry is (and I worry a lot) that I tend to get sick often, with sinus and upper respiratory infections. My doctors have run tons of blood panels and never found anything wrong with me, but I haven't had an HIV test, as alternatley I don't think to mention it, or I do, and my doctor thinks it's not necessary. I guess my question is, in terms of risk assessment, are my doctors right? Or should I go ahead and get the test anyway? Or, heck, both??? (Oh, and if it matters, I've never had anal sex.) Thanks! The Local Worrier!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Local Worrier,

I'd say "or, heck, both."

The reason:

1. I agree with your doctors that your overall HIV risk is quite low and your symptoms are not worrisome for HIV disease.

2. You should consider testing, despite #1 above, because you and "A-hole" had some unprotected sex and therefore there is some degree of risk for STD's including HIV. Also, this concern has obviously been on your mind, at least intermittently, for quite some time; consequently, to put those residual fears permanently to rest, a simple 20-minute HIV rapid test is worth the effort.

I'll send you my best good-luck karma that your test is negative!

Dr. Bob



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