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Follow Up -hinking of Checking Out of This Anxious Existence

Jun 15, 2007

Dr Bob, Thanks for the update. I felt a bit better for a day, but my throat continued to pain me as well as my right ear. I went back to Dr again day 33 and he noticed that my ear looked a bit infected. No temp or swollen lymph. He thinks it is probably a viral infection. Now I am thinking I have "this virus" again. I dont know why I am still being or getting sick unless I really have ARS. I have never been on/off ill like this before. Sorry to waste your time. I just have no one to turn to for help here overseas until I get back to America. I know I need help mentally, but there is none here in this rural town I am temporarily in. Do you know of any services I can call for mental help? I cant keep thinking this is ARS and am totally losing it at work. I know people suspect something is wrong with me. You dont even have to post to everyone if you want to directly send me some info. Thanks for your time. You are an inspiration to the human race.

Thinking of Checking Out of This Anxious Existence Jun 12, 2007

Dr Bob, Not sure what I am hoping to accomplish by emailing you. I dont think I will be able to go on anymore. My life is a wreck. I spend 90% of my time looking at ARS articles and the other 10% thinking of how to end it all. I am currently on travel to Asia and noone to talk to here. My story is as follows. Day 1 Met a girl at a bar. First night we came back to my place and she performed brief unproteced oral on me (30 seconds?) then protected vaginal intercourse. I have reason to believe she sleeps around, not sure protected or not. Day 15 armpits feel swollen and hurt. No swollen lymph. I dont think much of this, otherwise feel fine Day 17 brief sore throat for part of day Day 21 after reading on internet I am convinced I have ARS. I start to feel ill, armpits really feel swollen and I cant sleep. Loss of apetite. Day 23 finally get to go to Drs. They feel no swollen lymph in neck or pits. Dr tells me i have a low fever but doesnt speak great english tells me hiv is difficult for man to get from woman. CBC test negative for any bacterial infection. I go out and buy a thermometer that night and dont register a fever on it again. Day 25 go to another dr. No fever. No swollen glands. He tells me he has no idea what it is. I still feel feverish all day sweating and getting hot flashes even with no temp appetite low cant sleep after 1 night of night sweats with absence of fever. Day 26 throat starts to hurt. Day 29 throat pain starts to go away throat feels a bit swollen, but still feel feverish with headache, but no temp?? I cant understand that. So I know the symptoms dont mean anything and oral transmission chance is low, but this is way to text book. I know I have hiv and cant live on for 2 months before getting tested. I plan to make donation to you as I really dont need money anymore. You do a very great thing for people on here. I truely respect you. I only wish that this would not have happened or I would try to do some good in the world. Please respond. Lonely, anxious, stupid in Asia

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Lonely, Anxious, Stupid in Asia,

That you met a girl in a bar, immediately went back to your room for nookie and now "have reason to believe" she just might sleep around a bit is indeed both logical and rational; however, the rest of your post and its assumptions are not! I'll make a few quick points:

1. Your HIV risk is negligible at best. Thirty seconds of unprotected oral followed by protected vaginal sex makes your HIV risk extremely remote at best, assuming the latex condom was used properly and didn't fail.

2. I agree with you that symptoms don't mean anything and oral transmission risk is low.

3. Your "symptoms" are far from textbook for HIV ARS (acute retroviral syndrome). In fact, they are not suggestive of or worrisome for HIV ARS or HIV disease! For instance, your swollen glands are nonexistent based on the evaluation of two physicians and your fever was transient and low grade at best.

4. Your "symptoms" however, are indeed absolutely textbook and extremely suggestive of anxiety and irrational HIV fear.

5. Even though you "know" you are HIV and "after reading on the Internet are convinced (you) have ARS," I, on the other hand, "know" you are not HIV positive and that you do not have ARS. Would you like to make a wager about which one of us is correct? Remember, I have over a quarter of a century of intimate knowledge with this disease, have seen thousands of cases and have personally lived with the virus for over 16 years. So, do we have a bet???

6. I would strongly urge you to spend some time reading through the archives of this site. Yes, all of them! There you will find an amazing number of folks exactly like you with low-risk exposures who subsequently develop vague "symptoms" and are "absolutely convinced and 100% sure" they are HIV positive, only to find out three months later at the time of their HIV test that they are in reality HIV negative. I have absolutely no doubt you are exactly like them and, if you decide to stay around long enough to find out, will be writing me a heartfelt testimonial of your entire experience! I will then post it and hope that it helps others who find themselves locked in their personal worried-well hells.

If you are having difficulty coping with the stress and anxiety of the window period, get help from a physician or mental health counselor. Bring a copy of this post and my reply to your visit and discuss it with the doctor or therapist.

Thank you for your donation ( However, much more important than that will be your ultimate realization that you are HIV negative.

I'm sending you my best good-luck/good-health karma that your definitive HIV test will be negative, as I very strongly believe it will indeed be! By the way, my good-luck karma has yet to fail!

I look forward to your WOO-HOO, which I'm sure will be a real doozy.

Be well. (Yes, indeed, you are well; worried, but well nonetheless.)

Dr. Bob

Response from Dr. Frascino


I agree you need psychological/psychiatric help. If you are "totally losing it at work," and there really are no options for the help you need in your rural location, I suggest you take a vacation or leave of absence, if necessary, and get to a location where you can receive the medical attention you need. HIV is not your problem. Anxiety and irrational fear of HIV are. You need to seek help for these very real medical conditions. Psyches can get wounded just like other parts of our human anatomy. If you broke your leg, you'd have to be out of work for a while. The same could apply to your wounded psyche. It requires medical attention and unfortunately I cannot provide it over the Internet! What I can to is reassure you that your chances of having contracted HIV are so remote they are nearly nonexistent!

Good luck.

Dr. Bob

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