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Troubled Marrige
Oct 30, 2007

Dear Dr. Frascino, I am a HIV neg 31 y/o woman whos husband was diagnosed about a year ago. I have been reading your comments to others and they have brought up troubling questions. My husband states he obtained the virus by a one time encounter. His doctor (I feel is trying to cushion the blow of his indescretions) by stating this is a common occurance and very plausable. It was my understaning the odds of contracting the virus during a one time encounter vs many are extremely different. Is this true? Also, you speak of a period of depression and inability to comfrotably be intament with another. This was not the case with my husband. No period of depression or sadness. Most of the time he will not offer to use a condum untill I speak up. SO I guess my concern is if the virus is that "catchable" through a one time encounter why would he put me at risk even once? Are these reactions hes exhibiting normal or denial? I am very confused and sometimes question his sexulity. Is this normal for a wifes reaction? Please help me understand. Thank you, lost & confused

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Lost and Confused,

I'm sorry to learn of your husband's recent HIV diagnosis. I do agree your marriage is troubled and your husband's behavior is far from routine or what would be expected, at least from my experience.

Regarding the risk of infection, the statistical chance of acquiring HIV from any type of unsafe sexual activity remains the same for each exposure. Therefore, could it happen with only a single indiscretion? Yes, it is indeed possible. Just as it's possible to win a lottery with a single ticket. And if you buy a hundred lottery tickets, the statistical chance any individual ticket will hit the jackpot remains exactly the same, no matter how many other tickets you own. But if you do buy 100, rather than 1 lottery ticket, you'll have 100 chances at that same statistical risk to win. The analogy can be applied to "winning" the HIV lottery as well.

That your husband does not offer to use a condom until you speak up is worrisome. That plus your comment that you "question his 'sexulity'" is indeed a red flag that something is not right in happily-ever-after-land. My advice would be that you consider getting couples counseling where these issues can be fully explored and discussed. It may be that your husband has sexual identity issues or denial issues or some other psychological problem related to his HIV seropositivity. I believe your concerns are valid. You must take every precaution to protect your HIV-negative status.

Dr. Bob



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