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Fun with Numbers

Apr 30, 2007


I'm very worried about a particular heterosexual exposure incident, and trying to research as much information as possible. Too early for tests, which I know is the best way to put worries to rest.

Some studies refer to number of "person years" as a way to give some guidance on likelihood of transmission. You generally refer to information like "1 in 1,000" for example in describing the risk of female to male transmission.

Would be really helpful to me and perhaps others to help translate the data between these different ways of measurement. People like me freak out about now, and helping triangulate between the various information sources would really help.

I've only been reading your comments, and looking at this web site generally, for a couple of weeks but think you do an awesome job. regardless of whether you can answer here, will definitely make a contribution to your foundation. If there's a way to support this website in particular, would like to do that too if you can give me any directions.


An Analytically Challenged WW

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Analytically Challenged WW,

"Triangulation" is never "fun," unless you are talking about a ménage a trois. Trying to equate HIV risk in the way you suggest is not only statistically impossible; it's also not the least bit helpful. No matter how much time you spend crunching the numbers, the simple facts won't change. Here's what you need to know:

1. If you placed yourself at risk for HIV, you need an HIV test.

2. Wait until the three-month mark, because HIV tests taken prior to three months are not considered to be definitive or conclusive.

3. Learn from your mistakes and don't ever put yourself at risk in the future.

Thanks for your tax-deductible donation to The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation ( In return I'm sending you my good-luck karma that your definitive HIV test will be negative.

Good luck!

Dr. Bob

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Donating blood and Lexapro

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