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Married South African in desperate need of your EXPERT advice.
Oct 9, 2006

Hi Dr Bob

I really admire you for the work that you are doing and for being such an example to so many of us.

I really hope that you can find the time to help out a happily married guy, with 3 children, whose whole life seems to be falling apart because of a stupid mistake that happened 7 months ago. I have spent days on end reading through the archives in search of answers that will help me put an end to the constant fear that I have been carrying around with me for the past 7 months.

Heres a run down of my Low Risk encounter - I know this from all of the hours spent reading through the archives. After being curious about how it would feel to be with another guy, I went out and had a brief encounter with a guy whereby I sucked the shaft of his penis as well as his balls. He had recently shaved down there, but thats just one of my concerns. This was only for about a minute. He then done the same to me, and then proceeded to masturbate me until I eventually came all over my stomach. After the episode the guy told me that he used to work at a big brothel down in Cape Town, which could possibly mean that he was a high risk person to be with, not that I mean to judge him, but he had obviously been with many other guys prior to myself. Anyway, thats all that happened that day. Im also a bit concerned as I also had a problematic tooth back then, which used to cause my gums to bleed occasionally, although I didnt taste any blood on that specific day and didnt see any blood in my saliva either.

Fortunately my wife & I have been using condoms since the birth of my daughter more than 2 years ago. The reason for this is simply to prevent her from falling preggies again. As time went by, fear started to set in and I became extremely worried that I may have put myself, and even possibly my wife & kids at risk. I realized that I needed to get tested for HIV. We live in a relatively small city in South Africa where everybody knows everybody elses business, so I was afraid to go to the local clinic and decided to order a rapid test kit from the local pharmacy. The test was non-reactive / negative. Just to make sure, I then ordered a second rapid test kit from a different pharmacy and the test was also non-reactive / negative. Coincidently, the kits that I ordered from the 2 different pharmacies, turned out to be exactly the same, and from the same manufacturer, here in SA. I then became doubtful & concerned about the accuracy & reliability of the tests, so I called up the manufacturer who assured me that these test kits are highly accurate & reliable. He also told me that the kits have been approved by The National Institute for Communicable Diseases here in Johannesburg South Africa. He said that I should stop worrying and carry on with my life, seeing that both tests were non-reactive. Still worried, I then called the local clinic and asked them what type of tests they use. The lady told me that they also use rapid test kits and only use the Elisa etc for confirmatory testing, if the rapid test that had been done was reactive. However, she couldnt tell me who supplied the rapid tests that they use at the clinic. I told the lady about the 2 x rapid test kits that I had bought from the pharmacies, which were both non-reactive. She said that they were reliable and that I shouldnt worry about the possibility that I had contracted HIV anymore.

Dr Bob, I still cant seem to let go and move on with my life. I am still worried about the accuracy of the 2 x rapid tests that I done at home. These test kits are the ones that detect HIV antibodies in the blood specimen. They require you to prick your finger, place 2 drops of blood followed by 6 drops of reagent in a well on an assay, and then read the result after 15 minutes. Results are read as follows: Control line only = negative/non-reactive. Control line + Test line = positive/reactive. With both tests that I took only the Control line became visible after a few minutes i.e. negative/non-reactive.

Dr Bob, based on the very low risk factor of the episode described (only sucking the shaft & balls and not putting the head of the penis into my mouth) and the 2 non-reactive/negative results of the 2 rapid test kits, do you think that I can accept that I am HIV negative. As I also mentioned, the guy had recently shaved down there, which is worrying me, although his penis was dry and I dont remember tasting any pre-cum either. I called our ids Helpline here in SA, but with all due respect, they are not really able to help. I asked them if they knew which Rapid Test kits are approved for use in SA, but they werent able to answer my question. I have enquired about the availability of the Orasure Tests in SA, but cant seem to find out if they are available in SA. Doesnt seem as if they are!!

Please help me out here and answer this for me Dr Bob. Im begging you as I cant go on worrying like this for much longer. It feels as if my life is falling apart and Im so scared of putting my wife and children at any risk. I know that I need to level with her, but first want to be sure that Im HIV negative.

Thanks for taking the time to read my story and I will be making a donation to your foundation soon. I just pray that you have the time to respond. I really need your EXPERT advice Dr Bob.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Your HIV risk is essentially nonexistent. Sucking shaft and balls (even if "recently shaved down there") is not considered a risk for HIV transmission.

Your two negative rapid tests seven months after your "boys night out" are definitive and conclusive. HIV is not your problem. No way. No how.

Your only real problems are guilt and anxiety. I strongly encourage you to level with your wife now. It's not only the most effective way to confront your guilt; it's also the right thing to do. I'd also suggest you consider counseling to help with your anxiety as well as to explore your "bi-curious" tendencies.

What's important to remember is that HIV is not your problem, OK?

Stay safe. Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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