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Venting off from Brazil... Id appreciate a reply, thanks!
Aug 13, 2006

Dr. Bob,

Well, first I apologize for my English, it may not be as good as it should, but Ill do my best to make my situation clear. I live in Brazil and I had access to this website when I first started freaking out I got infected with HIV. Since then I have been spending hours and hours during the day reading your posts. Before I proceed with my questions I would like to congratulate you for the wonderful job you do to millions of people who face this terrible fear. As far as my question goes, I am sure you get hundreds of questions like mine so I dont know what would make it special to the point that youd answer it, but I can always try (Ill keep bugging you).

I have been dating this guy for only a couple of months and we just had two intimate encounters (both vaginal protected intercourse with no ejaculation maybe he was too anxious). However, five days after our first encounter (on July 8th) I had a strep throat and a couple days of fever. As prescribed I took amoxilin and while taking it I had some rashes all over my body that completely disappeared after the antibiotic treatment was over. Of course my tonsils got swollen (and I think the right one still is). I didnt have anything else as far as diarrhea, subsequent fevers, night sweats or weight loss go. But, a week ago, I noticed my tongue was whitish (it doesnt hurt or burn and when I brush it the white fades a little bit - I cant scrape it off- then it comes back during the day).

I am already convinced I could not have caught it from kissing (that I was convinced before) and now I am assuming something went wrong with the condoms (I dont think that was the case at the moment but maybe it did happen). Of course, as my nature, I am assuming he is positive although he is not the kind of person who sleeps around, but we never know Well, I guess I better go ahead with my questions:

1. I extensively looked through the risks per exposure but they dont say anything about risks when theres no ejaculation. Since he did not ejaculate, do you think that I would have a lower risk of infection even if something went wrong with the condoms? And do you have/know these figures?

2. I have a history of throat infections since my early ages, but is strep throat a sign of acute infection? Could this be mono as well? Could this be just an unfortunate coincidence that I got sick five days after our encounter?

3. Since I am paranoid right now, I have been examining myself all over my body and of course I have found some nodes which I dont know are normal or not or were there before. I know the right tonsil is a little bit larger than the left one (is it normal to have one larger than another)?. But at my groin area I noticed two symmetric pea-size nodes that I dont know were there before.

4. Is a white tongue a sign that something is going wrong with me? I have never noticed before if my tongue was whitish but now it caught my attention. I cant stand chew any more gum because thats the only thing that seems to make my white tongue better.

I know the best thing to do is go and get tested, but as you know, its easier said than done so I am still getting the nerves to do that. But do I really have to? I mean, as far as I know, the condoms didnt slip or I would have noticed it. Even if they had broken, he didnt ejaculate. What are my chances??? So am I going crazy for nothing?

5. Is it possible that my mind is playing tricks on me and now I am developing these funky symptoms? If my brain is doing that to me, so how come can I not figure out the lotto numbers???? I mean serious. Is it possible that I am causing this to myself?

6. Am I going to start the asymptomatic phase and do not have symptoms for a while (and think that I am fine) until I finally get the bad news?

Dr., I cant sleep, I cant focus, I cant work I want to have my life back and enjoy things as my son and my friends, but its been hard. I dont want to retire from sex but I fear that every time I have a protected encounter I will go crazy. Sorry if this turned out too long, but I needed to vent off I am looking forward to hear from you.

PS.: I just now noticed your colored picture (I had only seen the black & white one) and I must say you have beautiful eyes. Also I tried to make donation but my credit card didnt go through, they said its not an international credit card. :-(

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Brazil-Gal,

I'll answer your questions if you give me some Samba lessons. Deal? OK!

1. Yes, the estimated risk for HIV acquisition would be less if there was no ejaculation. There are no exact figures as to how much less. It's important to note if your partner did use a condom properly and the condom did not fail, your HIV risk would be essentially nonexistent.

2. No, "strep throat" is a bacterial infection and not a sign of acute HIV (a viral infection). Mono can cause some of the same symptoms. Tests can differentiate between these two conditions quite easily. Yes, your illness is most likely just coincidental.

3. Stop playing doctor. You are not trained to know what's normal and what is not. Your relentless self-examination is not helping!

4. No, not necessarily. Your tongue may be completely normal, even though it appears white to you. Testing would not be necessary if the latex condom was used properly and did not break. However, since you are "paranoid" and "driving yourself crazy," you might consider testing as the quickest way to put your unwarranted fears permanently to rest. Do I think you are HIV positive? Nope!

5. Yes, very definitely.

6. No.

I would suggest you consider counseling to help you cope with your irrational fears of becoming HIV infected. Donations to The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation can be made by direct wire transfer, mail, money order, cash, credit card or PayPal. Donation information is available on the foundation's Web site at www.concertedeffort.org.

OK, now what about those Samba lessons?

Dr. Bob



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