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Misinforming Doctor or Is It Me?

Oct 21, 2007

Dr. Bob-

Here's the story. About a month ago I got what I thought was a case of bronchitis. Week after that I wasn't better, had an x-ray and had bilateral pneumonia and was put on another antibiotic. Next week, not any better, can't breath head to ER spend a week in the hospital, have PCP and a very advanced HIV diagnosis. While recovering at home I inform my roommate of what all has happened. She's quite a few years younger and let's just say that abstinence based sex education has left her completely clueless with all things practical about sex, STDs, prevention, etc. I invite her to come with me to the doctor so she can ask questions or my therapist so we can make sure she's comfortable at home.

There's the back story (thanks for reading this far). She called her doctor's office to get an HIV test since she drank after me. I'm usually quite opposed to sharing drinks and she knows I hate double dipping, but I can understand her lack of education. She told me what she was doing and my response was: 1) I know we've never had sex and 2) I don't know of any time you have ever come into contact with any of my blood, I don't think the test is necessary. The doctor said, "Well that's not necessarily the case, you should do it anyway." Now I might look like a complete idiot or this doctor is a complete jerk. Can you help clarify the situation? I don't need the stress of starting meds, getting back to a normal life, and looking like I'm lying to the people around me. Thank you for all you do around here!

Response from Dr. Frascino


Abstinence-only sex education strikes again!!!

Sorry to hear about your recent diagnosis and also that your roommate is yet another victim of Dubya's disastrous anti-science policies. Your roommate's doctor also appears to be woefully misinformed! Perhaps he merely recommended the test so that he could put any fears your roommate had permanently to rest? Although chances are that is giving him too much credit and in reality he's just a jerk as you suggest. Did he at least try to educate your roommate that casual contact does not transmit HIV? That would certainly include sharing drinks, by the way!

My advice would be that in addition to having your roommate accompany you to your doctor's visits you also suggest she spend some time perusing the wealth of information on this site, in its archives and on its related links. There she can learn how HIV is and is not transmitted.

Good luck to you both. I'm here if you need me, OK?

Dr. Bob

Flamyboyant Hip Gayster
Dr. Bob, I was reading your form and saw this, i am sorry to hear the loss of your brother this year.

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