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Dubya's Abstinence Only Policy
Mar 26, 2007

Dr. Bob,

First of all, let me say that your site is amazing. I would love to work with you one day out in sunny California or volunteer in Africa with you (or do you just raise funds for meds there?). Anyway, I want to say great job on your criticism of Bush's Absintence only policy. I just did a presentation to my medical school class on the ineffectiveness of this, as evidence by the soaring teen pregnancy and STD rates in my very conservative state. People in my class preached that we needed to have a "stronger abstinence program" and instill the values of God in the kids more and clearly this is why the abstinence wasn't working. Duh, they said, the "witnesses" of my state were clearly failing to spread the message of the Bible. Anyway, great job on criticising that. I wish more people would realize that here.

But, I also have question. I have sent it in three or four times before, and I know you are busy, but I would really value your opinion.

10 months ago, I engaged in unprotected vaginal intercourse (a combo of too much alcohol and a smooth talking friend of mine). I became pregnant, had an abortion, and at my post abortion check up, I had an irregular pap smear. My doctor did not say it was caused by HPV, but it worried me nonetheless.

I suppose I am a worried well as you call them. I was wondering what my risks of HIV are. Ever since this popped into my head, I cannot get it out and I feel horrible and ashamed about the fact that I was so stupid and that I had an abortion. I am stressing out, on top of school, and it's getting to me. When does peripheral neuropathy set in? How long does it take for infections like OHL or thrush to show up? Is HIV associated with an abnormal pap 3 months after my one potential exposure? Please help me with some answers!!! I would greatly appreciate it and I would also love to come out to California and learn more about what you do!!

Thanks

Worried Idiot

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Worried,

I'm delighted you are giving presentations to your medical school classmates "on the ineffectiveness of Bush's abstinence-only policy as evidenced by the soaring teen pregnancy and STD rates in (your) very conservative state!!!" BRAVO. Continue to counter the religious zealots with facts. Eventually science will trump fantasy beliefs!

Regarding your question, obviously you realize that unprotected sex places you at risk, not only for pregnancy, but also for STDs, including HIV. Consequently, you should have an HIV test three months or more after the incident, whether or not you have symptoms. Stop worrying about when the onset of HIV-induced neuropathy, OHL or thrush might be. You'll learn all about this in medical school. If not, demand they teach HIV medicine!!! It must be part of the core curriculum of every medical school training program!

Abnormal Paps can be caused by a wide variety of conditions. You'll also learn about this in medical school. Follow up with your gynecologist.

As for coming out to California or Africa, learn your lessons and continue to advocate for HIV awareness, education and sound science-based prevention policy and ultimately our paths may well cross sometime in the future, OK?

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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