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Welcome to my balanitis hell!

Sep 17, 2007

Hi Dr. Bob,

Can you help where others have failed? Cue the gruesome details...

Basically, since around last August (yes, that's over a year), I've been experiencing balanitis off and on and my physician has indicated it seems very well to be yeasty in nature. (That being said, I had a swab of my urethra taken due to some discharge which has been present for the entire time pretty much, and no yeast was found - only a few bacteria that apparently shouldn't have been there. There were no lesions at this point.)

I am a gay man - I always practise safer sex and wouldn't have otherwise gone and got tested before my annual checkup - but immediately thought to myself when it began: Yeast infection isn't a great sign. So I went and got myself tested for HIV with a rapid test in the following October, and then in the following January. Both were negative. That's around 5 months from start of August to January. I also had an exhaustive STI checkup at this point, which came back clear. I live in the UK, by the way, so we're talking Abbott HIV Determine 1/2 for the labs.

Only thing is, the continued unexplained balanitis which doctors haven't really seemed very helpful with plagues me occasionally still (it responds to antifungal cream), and causes me to lapse into my nightmare that this is all HIV related. Information on HIV window periods and the like is pretty varied - 5 months rapid test is pretty conclusive, right? I'm not sure I really want to go and get tested again, but I've not had a doctor say directly to me: this is not HIV-related. I'd just like to hear a rational voice calm my irrational fears, that's all. Sad, huh?

What do you think, Doctor?

Response from Dr. Frascino


Your five-month negative test is definitive and conclusive. HIV is not your problem. No way. No how. Considering you "always practice safer sex," your HIV risk is negligible to nonexistent. As for your "balanitis hell," this is not HIV related. A negative HIV test trumps symptoms each and every time. See a dermatologist. This is not a difficult problem to treat!

As for lapsing into your HIV nightmare, remember nightmares are only bad dreams. Dreams are not real. It's time you woke up from yours and smelled the Starbucks!

Dr. Bob

Dear Dr. Bob, thinking of you

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