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Re:MY BROTHER TRIED TO KILL HIMSELF PLEASE READ ASAP!
Aug 22, 2006

he studies in boston, i study in germany, my parents live in saudi (were staying with them for the summer) and he's one night stand was in montreal. we are now in saudi. I've leveled with my parents, they're thinking of the best course of action before they do anything, probably going to take him to europe for an hiv test, and if he still needs it, psychiatric help. Thank you for answering me so fast, you are truly a good man. Doctor, may this have some comfort to him? i know lymph nodes (the reason he tried to end his life) are very unsure way to diagnose HIV. He's sexcapade as you usually call it happened about a year ago. he says his lymph nodes started to appear 3-4 months after his encounter and i've felt them, im no doctor but they are swollen, but none seem to be larger than 1 cm. I dont want to feed him lies, but if he was positive, wouldnt the nodes appear a few weeks after infection and remain abnormally swollen? Thank you again. unfortunatly, as long as i have a vagina, i can defend HIV less than a man. u know what im talking about, sad but nothing i can do without the fear of losing my life.

Thank you doctor, i look forward to ur answer

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

I'm glad you leveled with your parents! That's an excellent first step. I would definitely encourage an evaluation by a competent and compassionate HIV-knowledgeable psychiatrist.

Regarding your brother's concerns about his lymph nodes, the important message to convey is that lymph node enlargement is an incredibly common symptom associated with a wide array of medical conditions. The vast majority of cases have absolutely nothing to do with HIV. You are correct the time course for his lymph node enlargement is not consistent with HIV ARS or HIV disease. Remind him also that even if it were, 1 cm nodes are certainly not at all impressive. And perhaps most importantly, tell your brother symptoms, no matter what they are, are notoriously unreliable in predicting HIV disease. The odds are astronomically in your brother's favor that he is HIV-negative. I'd recommend getting him tested sooner rather than later.

Hopefully you'll be able to enlist your parents' support in helping to bring change to Saudi Arabia's draconian and archaic views surrounding HIV/AIDS.

Regarding empowering women to have more control over protecting themselves from HIV, this was one of the hottest topics at this week's World AIDS Conference in Toronto. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is investing millions of dollars to rapidly develop topical microbicides that women could self apply vaginally to protect themselves. Please do not feel there is nothing you can do without the fear of losing your life. That indeed would be sad, because it is not true. Help to be part of the ultimate solution. Be an advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness, education, prevention and treatment in Saudi Arabia. You have personally experienced the consequences of years of inactivity and denial that have preceded you. The time for change is now.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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