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Husband/father/failure
Nov 21, 2007

Dr. Bob, in all the sites on the Internet, this one by far provides the most comfort in my otherwise blue life. I love my wife. I love my two year old daughter. When I'm not near them but thinking about them, I cry. The fact that I very well may not see my little girl grow up to be a woman, or to help my wife through life has sickened and depressed me WAY beyond anything I could possibly get across in an email.

I had played with men in my past, including while I was married. I stopped in April, and in August tested negative for HIV. I thought that would be enough for me to stop. And it was for a while, and life was good. On October 25, I lapsed back into poor judgement and played with my first of three guys. Here's what I did:

Guy 1 (10.25) I rimmed him for about 5 minutes, and I topped him with a condom and plenty of lube. My penis was not 100% erect, but far from flacid - the condom stayed on the entire time. When I came and pulled out, the condom appeared to be intact.

Guy 2 (11.6) I rimmed him for about 5 minutes, then inserted some fingers for a few times, and rimmed him for a few more minutes. Then he sucked me without protection for about 15 minutes. I went behind him, and was about to put a condom on when I saw BLOOD leaking a bit out of his rectum. We stopped right then and there. I can't remember if my mouth touched his ass after the blood was present, but it likely could have touched it when I rimmed him those few minutes after I fingered him. At that point, I saw no blood at all, but my tongue probably went an inch inside of him. THIS HAS ME TERRIFIED. He is young (25), and said he only had sex twice - once as a top, once as a bottom, both protected. He said the guy who topped him is a fellow college student who participates in drug tests in clinical trials and gets tested regularly. Guy 2 does not know his status (he told me he thought he was negative because he donates blood!!!) Of course, you never ever know.

Guy 3 (11.8) A "buddy" I have met with in the past. He sucked me unprotected for about 45 minutes, and then I topped him with a condom for about 5 minutes, and did not ejaculate. When I pulled out, the condom was intact, and he sucked me some more before I came.

Starting on about 11.7, I started feeling pain in my right leg like I pulled a hamstring (which is possible, given the above activities). It's the kind of muscle pain that only hurts when I stretch it a bit too much. A few days later, I developed a very sore throat, like a sharp pain when I swallow. It went away 3-4 days later. I then got very mild muscle pains in that same leg, in the calf. I started taking my temperature, and it seems to remain at a normal level, and the highest has been about 99.5, and it was only one time. A fever has, thus far, not persisted. Finally, yesterday my arms and legs were tingling, like my body hair was overly sensitive or something - and I think I am noticing more of a redness around my collarbone/neck. I don't see any bumps, but MY GOD is it disconcerting. I have no way of telling if it is a rash, but it is just another possible symptom, which is making me even more depressed. Now it is 11.20. I still have that hamstring muscle pain, but not much other pain to speak of. The entire time I have had a sharp loss of appetite and have been feeling completely lethargic, like there was nothing I wanted to do but sleep. My energy is back a bunch, but my appetite is not.

I am terrified beyond all rational thought that I have ruined the lives of others who love me dearly, as well as thrown my own life out the proverbial window. I know what I must do and when I must do it. What I don't really know is the level of risk I've put myself in. I feel like after all I've done this past month, I've read so much (at this site, as well as others) and learned so much more that I wish I knew a month ago. I am particularly upset that I saw blood on Guy 2. I am most upset at the fact that Guy 1 & 2 are not responding to ANY of my pleading emails or phone calls, and that makes me worry that one/both of them lied about their status. That part is driving me bonkers - no matter how much I ask and beg, they both remain silent.

I don't do ANYTHING other than obsess over my actions, how I dodged the bullet once - how can I do it again - and this time I am experience symptoms of ARS (I always see you write that people's "symptoms" are not indicative of ARS, but according to many sites, are not the above symptoms similar to ARS?)

The fact that I am married and have a daughter only add to the conflicted nature of my actions, but that is something I must deal with after I deal with this issue. In the next week I have Thanksgiving, my daughter's second birthday, and then Christmas preparations. I just cannot stomach what I have done to my family, and the depression is horrible, equal to the fear of being infected.

I hope that you read this, and find the time to gauge my risk, fears of ARS and infection, and concerns.

Thank you, Dr. - so much.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Your HIV risk is extremely low essentially zilch from bachelor #1, extremely low from bachelors #2 and #3. Your degree of anxiety, angst, fear and depression is way out of proportion to any actual risk. This is most likely due to guilt and depression over your man-on-man activities.

I believe you correctly pinpointed your real problem when you wrote "I am terrified beyond all rational thought . . . ." I agree! Your symptoms are not worrisome for or suggestive of HIV Acute Retroviral Syndrome (ARS), despite what you may have read elsewhere.

My advice is probably obvious:

1. Level with your wife. It's not only the best way to confront your guilt; it's the right thing to do.

2. Level with yourself about your sexual orientation. (Being gay doesn't mean you don't or can't love your wife and kids.) Get counseling to help you sort out your sexual orientation issues. Couples counseling may help in resolving things with your wife.

3. Get a rapid HIV test at the three-month mark.

4. Become more familiar with the wealth of information on this site pertaining to HIV prevention and transmission.

Good luck!

Dr. Bob



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