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Apologies and a symptom question
Dec 19, 2007

Dr. Bob -

I want to express my deepest apologies. I asked a question earlier, but it was a very selfish one, as I had not read your story or even knew about your foundation. I want you to know that I am sending you all of my (spiritual) weapons to you for your battle with HIV. I guess that discovering this site has made me realize what a horrible disease it is - especially since it can harm someone as wonderful, intelligent, and giving as you. I have since made a donation to your foundation, and will continue make many more in the future.

Anyways, to my question. About 1 week ago, I had an encounter with a man where I had both receptive and insertive oral sex (unprotected). 4 days afterward, I developed swollen lymph nodes. Now, 6 days after the encounter, I am having nagging headaches all over my head, and a few aches in my body. Is it possible that these are ARS symptoms? I've read on some websites (though none that appear to be as credible as this one) that ARS symptoms can appear within 1 week. I am basically freaking out in what should be a very happy time of my life...

While my encounter has produced a lot of anxiety for me, it has also led me to discover a wealth of information regarding HIV. I had always heard about it on TV and the like, but it had never really become an issue for me until now. So, regardless of my status, I will devote time and energy to raising awareness of HIV to people who are so oblivious to it like I was. If there's anything I can do to help besides making a donation, please let me know.

P.S. I also play the piano. Hopefully I will have an opportunity to hear you someday.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Certainly no apology needed.

Regarding your question, I see no reason for excessive concern. Oral sex carries an extremely low risk for HIV transmission. Your "symptoms" are nonspecific and certainly not worrisome for HIV ARS. And yes, they are somewhat too early. Generally ARS symptoms become manifest two to three weeks after HIV primary infection. My advice would be for you to relax and also to get a single rapid HIV test at the three-month mark. The odds you did not contract HIV from your oral encounter are astronomically in your favor.

Thank you for your donation to The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation. Your one gift will touch many lives. I applaud your efforts to increase HIV/AIDS awareness. As for anything you can do to help, well, I'm staring at almost 2,000 envelopes and the latest copy of our Foundation newsletter that need to be folded, stuffed, addressed and stamped. I wouldn't mind some help with that project, but unfortunately by the time you read this, I'll (hopefully) already have completed the task and sent the newsletters off with the pony express for delivery. But, thanks for the offer! I'm sending you my good-luck karma that your definitive three-month HIV test is negative. (You'll also get one of our new newsletters with your formal thank-you acknowledgement.)

Finally, as for the piano, I'm working on some Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, Prokofiev and Shchedrin. Perhaps you'd like to help by learning some of the fistfuls of notes in these pieces!

Good luck. Remember to practice (both the piano and safer sex!).

Dr. Bob



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