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Trying to put these silly fears to rest
Jan 2, 2008

Dear Dr. Bob, First, I want to thank you so much for all of the wonderful work you do to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and combat the stigma. Youre truly an inspiration to me. Ive been reading this forum for quite a while now, and even in my most anxious of times, you always are able to make me giggle with your quick-witted responses. So on to my silly fearsIve recently returned from a visit to Latin America where I was able to spend time with a very special man Ive known for a while now. Because its a long-distance relationship and inevitably wont last forever, I promised myself that Id behave this time. (My emotions get too involved when Im physically intimate with someone.) However, its hard to be a perfect angel when the Spanish language is so darn sexy. I hope Dr. Steve speaks to you in Spanish regularly. :-) Anyway, all that happened was some incredible kissing and touching with clothes on. The only problem was that I happened to put my hand in a wet spot on the outside of his relatively thin shorts. Obviously, he was slightly more aroused than I had anticipated. I believe the skin on my hand was primarily intact other than a hangnail on one of my fingers. I dont remember it bleeding at the time. For the first couple of weeks, I really had no worries. I was actually feeling quite good about my self-control and ability to stay within my comfort zone, in terms of STD fearsthen the symptoms appeared. Im trying to rationalize all of them and convince myself that this is simply the common cold or something of the like. At about week two, I began to run a slightly elevated temperature (never exceeding 99.9 degrees to my knowledge, and those few readings were in the evening) accompanied by occasional headaches (typically isolated to one side at a time, in the sinus region) and a couple bouts of loose stool (which could be due to the high-fat foods Ive been consuming at holiday gatherings or a lovely side effect from my preventative malaria medication). Ive also experienced some fullness/discomfort in my abdomen and lower back pain (quite possibly related to my time of the month). Within a few days, I had swollen lymph nodes in my neck and along my jaw line, as well as some pressure/fullness throughout my throat, chest and underarm areas. Ive developed an annoying cough, but its a productive cough (lots of colorful drainage which I take as a good sign), and my throat really isnt that sore, just itchy. This has been going on for nearly two weeks now. As you can see, Im really trying to talk myself out of these crazy fears, and Im just needing your expert advice. Do I have any reason to be concerned about HIV/STDs whatsoever, and is testing at all warranted in this situation? I havent been physically intimate, except for this occasion, since the last time I was tested. I just want to put all these silly fears to rest so that I can enjoy a Happy New Year. I hope you and Dr. Steve had a happy holiday season and that youre doing something fabulous to bring in the New Year. ¡Muchos abrazos y besos!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hola!

Thanks for your kind comments.

Your HIV risk is nonexistent. Testing is not warranted. If you do get tested for peace of mind, the results will undoubtedly be negative. Whatever is causing your various symptoms, one thing is certain: It's not HIV.

As for Dr. Steve, he's "so darn sexy," no matter what language he happens to be whispering in my ear. And as for New Year's, yep, we did indeed do "something fabulous" to bring it in!

Gracias por los "muchos abrazos y besos." Te envío lo mismo.

Dr. Bob



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