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IN BETTER SPIRITS, but is is legit?
Jan 9, 2008

Dr.Bob! or can i just call you bob? ive been asking so many questions on here in the last couple days i feel like i could be on a first name basis with you! hah

Well obviously, by my restored sense of humor you can tell im in better spirits! I broke down in the middle of class today just thinking about the possibility of having HIV. I went outside and as if God sent her to me Himself, a girl that I'm friends with happened to walk by and sensed something was wrong. I couldn't hold it inside anymore and i completely confided in her. It was the first time I've ever told anyone about what happened with CREEPO and turns out she was raped when she was 13 and had to get an abortion so she understood what i was going through (sort of). Well anyway, being the amazing person that she is, she skipped last period with me to go to Plannedparenthood and i got the Rapid HIV test. And THANK GOD it was negative!!!!!!! I was so excited, but naturally, i still have the little evil guy in the back of my head saying "Your not out of the window period, buddy!" So that leads to my question:

My exposure was December 2, today is the 8th of January, so about 36 days after exposure.. is there a good chance i may not have had time to develope antibodies to the virus or is there a good chance im negative? and is rapid results less efficient than antibody testing or is it the same?

I'm very happy and just praying that no evil antibodies decide to pop up in the next couple weeks. Thank you so much BOB!!!

*and the very nice woman at planned parenthood said i should come back in a few months just to be sure.. I should do that right?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Sure, you can call me anything you want, except a Republican. I'm delighted your mood ring is now a cheery bright happy rainbow flag color rather than the murky drab depression grey it was last week. That's progress.

Your 36-day negative HIV test is encouraging, but not definitive. The vast majority of HIV-infected folks will have detectable levels of anti-HIV antibodies in their blood by four to six weeks. However, some folks may take up to three months. The odds at this point are all in your favor that you dodged the HIV bullet. But you'll still need that three-month test for a definitive answer.

As for rapid tests, yes, they are as accurate as blood tests for HIV screening.

I'm sending you my good-luck karma that your definitive three-month HIV test remains negative. I'll reprint your previous posts below for our readers who are following your saga!

Dr. Bob

I RUINED MY LIFE Jan 6, 2008

Okay, im a teenager. I still live with my parents, im still in high school, i still have all my friends and my family... But im pretty much 100% sure i have HIV. I can't imagine focusing on school pretending nothing is wrong while i know im dieing. I can't tell my parents because they would find out how i got it (and that would bring up another issue i could NEVER tell my parents... if you catch my drift) If i run away, they would be devastated, if i shoot myself they would be devastated, but i cant go on with this inside!!! i dont know waht to do!!! because i want medication but my parents would have to find out.. and i dunno.. how do you tell your parents if your still an adolescant "I got HIV" not to mention in the most shameful way possible!!!! PLEASE HELP ME Dr.Bob, I CANT TAKE IT ANYMORE.. I FELL LIKE THERE's NO WAY FOR MY LIFE TO BE GOOD OR HAPPY OR ANYTHING EVER AGAIN.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

You did not ruin your life. Yes, I do indeed "catch your drift." Society's puritanical view on homosexuality is what's making your life difficult at the moment. You feel you contracted HIV ". . . in the most shameful way possible." That indicates you feel shame about being gay or having gay sex. How tragic that sexual orientation is still so misunderstood. I wonder if homophobic parents really understood the damage they were doing to their gay children if they would wake up and become more reasonable. (The fact you considered running away or even suicide graphically illustrates this point!) I should also point out that many parents are actually much more enlightened and reasonable than you would initially expect. When kids do finally come out to their parents, often the parents state they "knew" for quite some time. It is unfortunate it's such a taboo subject, considering being gay is completely normal.

Here's what I would suggest. As a teenager, you should be able to visit your doctor alone, even if it's still the pediatrician and your folks have to drive you there. If you feel you aren't ready to come out to your folks, especially because of your HIV concerns, tell them you need to see the doctor because you just aren't feeling well (or whatever). Insist on going into the exam room alone with the doctor. As a teenager they should not protest too much! Once in there, quickly level with the doctor. Tell him you're gay; you're worried about HIV; and don't feel you can discuss either issue with your folks yet. He or she will keep your conversation confidential. HIV testing can be done in the office with a rapid test. Results are available within 20 minutes. If you're positive, have the doctor help tell your parents. They won't freak out as much with a physician in the room. If you're negative, talk to the doctor about your concerns about not being able to be open with your folks. You may also need to be screened for other STDs. Use the time also to learn about safer sexual practices. Ultimately I urge you to level with your folks and the sooner the better. Coming out is never easy, but it's always worth the effort.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob

I HAD IT SO GOOD! Jan 7, 2008

Dr.Bob,

This is the teenager that told you i think i got HIV, and I'm sure your probably thinking: Teenager in highschool having sex with another teenager and he's freaking out.. well actually- it was totally illegal with some CREEP who i have no idea who he is and i just wanna beat the crap out of myself for being so stupid!!! i dont even wanna get into that!!! To my parents, being gay would be a shocker, but they could get over it (no offense, i think its screwed up its the way i was born and that's who i am but i have to hide it and hooking up with girls is just to keep a good reputation at school). BUT, having sex with a 37 year old guy who emailed you online would make even the most level-headed parents want to strangle their kid!! So that was mainly my point. The past couple years that i realized i was probably gay seemed like i had the WORST life in the world, but i would do ANYTHING to go back and just say to myself "alright your gay, but thats NOWHERE near as bad as getting HIV". And doc, i am so scared for myself, i mean so scared i feel like crying right now, ive been crying sooo much, calling that 211 hotline just to talk to someone cause theres noone i can talk to since im "still in the closet" and most people would think "oh, well if you think you have hiv, you must have had gay sex." but mainly, im scared for my family. My parents are SO proud of me, im such a good kid, they tell me how they couldnt ask for a better son and that im gonna always be there for them when they get old, and they said that again today and i just wanted to cry because im not going to be there for them!!! and.... just my grades, my life, everything ive worked soooo hard for seems to have been for a future that no longer exist!

Okay, bottom line, forget that i said i couldnt come out to my parents, that's a piece of cake compared to saying that i might have HIV because that would bring up the question "well how the hell could that have happened" and honestly, i would rather say "i shot up drugs" but they would never believe that cause like i said, i am.. well, WAS a really good kid. so they would find out, and they would be sooo said because my parents cherish my health and the health of my siblings and they're sooo thankful for that!! so i just want to make it easy on them.

I'll admit im not, 100% sure i have HIV. and its that slight glimmer of hope that's made me able to make it through the last month (ive never been sick for more than a few days, but 3 weeks after exposure i got severe diarrhea, fatigue, malaise, feel like my neck is swollen, throats been weird. and that lasted for over 2 weeks (just finally fealing better) and they've tested for virtually everything except HIV (hepatitis, every parasite, bacteria, xrays ect.) but since i'm a "*straight* healthy teen, i could never get HIV *sarcasm" ive been freaking out, but not having a fever and not being tested has really been the only thing that has kept me from doing something stupid (like stealing my parents car and just driving until the gas ran out). So that's what really scares me is the symptoms, which i know arent anxiety because im still freaking out but feel better!!! and i dunno if this means anything but maybe you could shed some light. Are low lymphs, low monocytes, high neutrophils, and high hemoglobin (but not to the point of diabetic) be signs of HIV?? and a few days after exposure urine test showed biliruben?? no hepatitis or liver disease??

but aside from symptoms... I just want my parents to be happy- my main question is, would it be possible or realistic to (once i get tested and am sure i have HIV) to not tell my family for their sake (not so much as mine) i just want them to be happy and not have to live with my mistake. i dont want to put this on the very people who gave me life and have given me everything but i screwed it up.. would i be able to "fly under the radar" for at least a couple more years without my parnets knowing i have HIV. would i be able to stay healthy that long? or do i need meds? i dunno, where can i go or do??? Thanks for your input, i have no one else to go to.. (and its ironic, i just thought about it, its this god damn internet that got me into this mess, and now its the only place i have to go for help) kindof depressing huh?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

I think you're getting way ahead of yourself here. Chances of contracting HIV from a single exposure, even if the dude was as ancient as 37 and creepy as well, are extremely low. So first things first. You need an HIV test. The plan I outlined for you yesterday should work.

Write back after that and we'll take it from there, OK?

Dr. Bob



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