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WORRIED MOTHER - Is This HIV??
Aug 2, 2007

Doctor Bob,

Please respond. I am a desperate mother who wants her son back. He recently returned home from a trip abroad and hasn't been the same since. He performed fellatio one night while intoxicated on someone of unknown status and is now convinced he has HIV. He is so depressed and worried. I am too. His symptoms are very consistent with HIV, even though I know I keep reading you cannot go on symptoms alone. Two weeks after his potential exposure, he developed two large canker sores on both sides of his tongue. They disappeared in 6 days, but returned 9 days later and he has had them for two weeks now (still not going away). They are very large (more than 1 cm in diameter) and he says they are painful. In addition, he wakes up every morning complaining of a severely dry mouth and has diarrhea every morning too. He also sleeps a lot more than he used to. He can barely stay awake past 11 PM and sleeps almost 12 hours a night, complaining of fatigue and a general feeling of weakness. He was tested for STDs and HIV after 3 weeks and everything came back okay. He will be tested again after 3 months. His doctor has said that the sores are most likley coincidental or due to the anxiety he is experiencing. Please respond Doc. You have a great site here. It breaks my heart to hear my son crying himself to sleep every night. I am worried that he might do something stupid if he has contracted the disease. Do you think there is any chance he is not HIV positive? Please help us Doc!

Worried Mother

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Worried Mother,

Oral sex carries a very minimal risk for HIV transmission. Your son's symptoms are not "very consistent with HIV." Rather, they are very consistent with depression, anxiety and guilt. His three-week negative test is encouraging, but not definitive. I absolutely agree with his doctor. My advice is that your son be referred to a psychiatrist who can help him confront his irrational fear of being HIV infected and also treat his depression/anxiety. I don't know if he's having problems with sexual orientation issues or guilt about his actions, but a psychiatrist may help with these issues as well. The odds your son did not contract HIV from this single episode are astronomically in his favor. There is no doubt your son has a problem. That problem, however, is not HIV!

Dr. Bob



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