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Closure
Aug 14, 2006

Hi Dr

Hope you had a great time in the south of france, it is a true joy to watch the world go by in the back streets of Nice with a fine Pommerol.

I wrote you a panic note on the 29th July on my first visit to your site having not read any previous Q & A's. Having now had time to go through the forums history it has struck me how many people out there are hyper sensitive to HIV infection and unable to differentiate between a couple of random symptoms with negative test results and continued fears of contracted HIV. I appear to be one of them. I was also deeply disapointed to hear you were fighting this terrible and preventable disease. Your contribution to thousands of worried souls who cling to your answers with high anxiety is noteworthy and something that makes a tangible difference in our lives. I hope you take comfort knowing you make a difference.

My problem is continued symptoms.

Everytime I reason it through in my own mind I come to the logical conclusion that I am HIV negative. Unfortunately the symptoms just keep coming and with each one the deep-set gut feeling that this cannot simply be chance.

I am 34 and have been blessed with good health all my life - until my encounter with a Thai sex worker 15 months ago. The condom burst and we had unprotected sex for about 2 minutes. I was too drunk to climax and did not wash afterwards. I started worrying about HIV immediately on waking up the next morning and have not stopped since. Despite the more likely risk of other STD infections HIV was the concern from day 1 and I think that is a common theme to many of your audience.

The head of my penis has never been the same since, having become a more purple/blue colour with a purple rim on the bottom of the head. I had some diarrea and night sweats at 2 weeks which I atributed to pure stress but then came the swollen glands between 2 and 3 months. Never had anything like that before or since. It lasted for 1 month and was quite something. I was tested at 4 months in Scotland - negative. My concerns continued and I was retested at 8.5 months - a full STD checkup. Again negative.

Now the STD doctor made it clear to me at that point that I was not HIV positive and to let it go. I pretty much did this until a month ago when I had a bad eye infection and a septic finger that kept refilling for 3 weeks. I went to the doctor who told me he was 'pretty sure' I was not HIV positive and to put it out of my mind.

I now have problems in my mouth with white lumps on the roof and a rather strange tongue, kind of feels like I've got little cuts all over the inside of my mouth.

So here I am again, wrapped up in myself and my renewed conviction that I have this frightening disease.

Positive or negative, the last 15 months has really concentrated my mind and completely changed my outlook on life. Something else that has come out of it is an acute awareness of how much I love my wife, how lucky I am and how absolutely devestated she would be if I was positive.

In my dark moments, when I have convinced myself I am positive and have passed it onto her, I contemplate ending my life. That is pretty serious stuff and totally out of character, genuinely a place I did not know I could go. I did not have sex with my wife until after the first test and have been careful to ware protection since but have slipped up 3 times under the influence despite not climaxing inside her.

I kind of know I need to go for another test but am having difficulty raising my game through sheer fear. It appears I am a coward who would rather stick my head in the sand than go for the test and risk knowing I will be HIV positive for the rest of my life on Tuesday. I just cannot face it - it petrifies me because, despite the limited exposure and 2 negative test results, I have lived these symptoms and beleive I am positive.

So why am I writing you? To add my little piece to the thousands who read these pages desperate for a comparable story and advice. But also because i would genuinely appreciate the advice of a professional HIV specialist, something I don't beleive my doctor is. I am currently working in Saudi Arabia where this disease is disgracefully swept under the carpet like it will go away, and good advice is hard to come by.

Your input would be genuinely appreciated and I will continue to make my charitable contibutions on a local level through cash and time.

Wishing you strength.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Thanks for your kind comments. Despite the length of your post, my response will be a brief one-two-three!

1. You are HIV negative. No further HIV testing is warranted, other than to calm your unjustified fears.

2. A negative HIV test trumps "symptoms" each and every time.

3. Your problem is psychological. ". . . I believe I am positive . . . . I contemplate ending my life . . . . etc." You are suffering from guilt, anxiety and clinical depression. You need to address these problems by consulting a psychiatrist or qualified therapist. HIV is not your problem. No way. No how. To finally obtain the "closure" you seek, get the psychiatric help you need not more HIV tests that you don't!

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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