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2+ weeks of symptoms very worried - I gave a donation a week ago
Aug 10, 2007

Hi Dr. Bob, I understand that you are a busy and I would highly appreciate your response. I emailed you a week ago and sent a donation afterwards. After 6 weeks of vaginal exposure with a massagee girl in China my body started aching all over, some throat issues, and headaches, but no fever for over 2 weeks now. I took a anitbody test at 6 weeks, 3 days that came back negative. However I continue to basically hurt all over off and on, but legs constantly hurt. My doc tested me for hepitis and tested my white blood cell count and everything came back good. I'm very concerned and confused because I have a family too and yes, I have told my lady about what happened and that has been a challenge itself. I've been very depressed because no one seems to know whats wrong but now my lady has been diagnosed with shingles on her shoulder which is really freaking me out. Please advise on this Doc. Its so hard to continue everyday when I'm worried about hiv when my body is contantly hurting for over 2 weeks now.

Thank you for your time.

China Traveler

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello China Traveler,

You had "6 weeks of vaginal exposure with a 'massagee' girl in China?????" WOW, you've really got stamina! No wonder your body is "aching all over!!!"

Assuming your vaginal exposure was unprotected, you did place yourself at some degree of risk for STDs, including HIV. Therefore testing is warranted. Your symptoms, "hurt all over, throat issues, and headaches," six weeks after your potential exposure are not suggestive of or worrisome for HIV ARS (acute retroviral syndrome). Your six-week negative HIV test is very encouraging, but not conclusive. (The vast majority of folks infected with HIV will have detectable levels of anti-HIV antibodies in the blood by six weeks.) You will need a three-month HIV test for a definitive result. That your wife has had a bout of shingles on her shoulder should not cause you to freak out! The vast majority of cases of shingles have absolutely nothing to do with HIV!

I agree with you when you write "I've been very depressed . . . ." This may well be the cause of your symptoms. If no physical cause can be determined for your ailments, a psychosomatic cause related to your depression should be considered.

I'm glad you leveled with your wife. The next thing you need to do is get a three-month HIV-antibody test. The odds are astronomically in your favor that you did not contract HIV from this Chinese adventure. I'm quite confident your three-month test will be negative, but only an HIV test can give you a conclusive answer. Consider counseling if your depression, guilt and anxiety over this experience are becoming troublesome and persistent.

Thank you for your tax-deductible gift to The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org). In return I'm sending my good-luck karma that your definitive three-month test remains negative. Good luck!

Dr. Bob



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