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Why we worry...

Jun 2, 2007

Hi Doc,

I read your site often. I am amazed at some of the questions that are asked here. I occasionally suffer from "health anxiety" - usually after "symptom surfing" - it seems in many cases here the real problem isn't HIV, but our fears and anxieties. I thank you for helping many of us realize that.

I recently broke up with my boyfriend. I thought we'd be together forever. I found out he had a cocaine addiction and was a compulsive liar. One night a few weeks ago, he got drunk, picked up two gay homeless men, took them to a hotel, and smoked crack with them. During this encounter he gave them both head although he claims they could not maintain an erection and did not get off. A week after that, in a lapse of judgement, I had unprotected anal sex with him. (I was the top) - We are now completely broken up, but along with the sense of emptiness I am left with, I am also left w/ a fear of HIV infection. He tested negative for HIV in January and was most likely only with me before the "crack whores" - Are people more contaigious shortly after a possible exposure?

Thanks for reading my question. My fear is most likely the result of my stress and emotions, but sometimes it's nice to check in with someone just in case.

Response from Dr. Frascino


It looks like both you and your ex had significant lapses in judgment his involving the "crack whores;" yours in deciding to go commando-rambo even while knowing his problem with "truthiness."

Regarding infectivity, it is true HIVers are most infectious when HIV viral loads are sky high. This often occurs during primary infection before the HIV-specific immune response has had a chance to kick in. It might be helpful if your "ex" gets an HIV rapid test. Of course, even if he does, you'll still need your test at the three-month mark. If he is confirmed to be HIV positive, the CDC would also recommend you get an additional follow-up six-month test.

Good luck to you both.

Dr. Bob


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