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Please help
Sep 25, 2007

Hello, Doctor.

For the past few months, I have been so worried about contracting HIV that it is starting to affect every aspect of my life. You see, my sister is best friends with a homosexual male. She spends most of her time at his apartment, which he shares with his ex-boyfriend. They are college students and live in a VERY HIV-dense city. I'm not so concerned that her friend has HIV, but his ex has a reputation for having unprotected sex with MANY partners. I'm so worried that my sister is at risk for HIV, and I'm also worried that she could transmit it to our family. I'm beginning to dread seeing her car in the driveway, in fear of what she may be bringing to our house. I no longer shower after her or share food or drink with her. I have confronted her about my fear, yet she insists that she's safe and I'm "crazy." She really doesn't seem to care. I know you can't contract the disease through casual contact, but just the thought of her being in such close contact with such a man makes me terrified. I'm not a selfish person, but it doesn't seem fair that my sister's carelessness could hurt my life, too. I'm so tired of being scared. I'm even getting on anti-depressants this week to calm my nerves a little. Please, any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you, A concerned sister

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Clueless Sister,

You state, "I know you can't contract the disease (HIV) through casual contact." Yet you "no longer shower after her or share food or drink with her"!?!?!? Do you see a slight disconnect between what you "know" and how you are behaving?

I do not believe your sister is being careless or selfish. In fact, I quite agree with her: you're nutso! Sweetie, it's time you stopped being so scared and learned some basic facts about how HIV is and is not transmitted. We've been intensely studying this disease for over a quarter of a century. The modes of transmission are very clearly delineated. Your fears are completely irrational and unwarranted. I suggest you spend some time studying the wealth of information about HIV that can be found on this and other reputable HIV information Web sites. After that, I suggest you apologize to your sister for being such a clueless twit! There is no excuse for this degree of ignorance and irrational paranoia when sound scientific information is so readily available.

Dr. Bob



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