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Please advise, I've made a mistake.
Feb 18, 2008

Dr Bob, I am sorry to continue writing to you but at the moment I don't know where else to go. You have helped me in the past and I hope you can help me again.

On January 11th 2008 I went for a drink with a girl i had met at new year. We ended up having protected sex although the condom broke at one point for perhaps 30 seconds before i noticed and put a new one on. I asked this girl of her sexual health status and she said that she was free of any infection.

On the 14th January i had my yearly sexual health check up for all STDs and everything came back negative.

Approximately 3 weeks after sleeping with this girl I developed a very uncomfortable sensation in my left groin, which feels like a muscle strain of some kind (it is tight in that area when i stretch) and is painful to put weight on. As a result i was struggling to walk around comfortably for approximately one week. As of this date i have had this discomfort in my groin for 3 weeks. I spoke to a doctor on the phone who told me to try taking ibuprofen as if there was a inflammation of the muscle this would calm it down and allow the muscle fibres to heal. After about a week of taking ibuprofen the pain in my groin appears to have subsided considerably but is still present. It is worth noting that at no time with this pain have I found any swollen glands or had any other symptoms and so does this sound worrisome for early HIV infection?

But i've made a terrible mistake and i don't know how to make things better. At the start of february i started to date a lovely girl who i like and we have started having sex, firstly using condoms but gradually as time passed and with more condoms breaking we started to have unprotected sex. I now find myself in the situation where i have had a (albeit) low risk exposure and am potentially putting somebody else at risk too. I am not a bad person and i did not intend for things to work out this way. I am only human and i have made a mistake but i am aware of this and i want to rectify the situation as best i can. I want to continue seeing this girl but i dont want to continue having unprotected sex with her when i am essentially again unsure of my own HIV status. I can't alter what has happened in the past between us but i can change what happens in the future. How can i explain to her that i want to go back to using condoms in the meantime until i receive an HIV test results 3 months after my last exposure?

Once again, i apologise for bothering you as i know you are very busy but i need some advice on this and i hope that you will reply to my post.

Thank you so much in advance. R

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Your HIV risk is brief unprotected insertive penile-vaginal sex due to a broken condom with a partner of unknown HIV serostatus. I agree an HIV test at the three-month mark is warranted. I also agree your overall HIV-transmission risk from this episode is very low.

Regarding your new main squeeze, what's up with the ". . . more condoms breaking"??? Condoms, when properly used, break extremely rarely. Did you check the expiration date on your condoms? Are you using an oil-based lubricant, which would decrease the integrity of the latex, thereby increasing the risk the condom would break? Do you have nails like Barbara Streisand that are damaging the condoms when you open the package or put them on? Are you hung like Seabiscuit, but squeezing into condoms made for dicks the size of a gherkin? I would suggest you review proper condom technique and get some extra-strength varieties as well as a large supply of water-based lubricant.

As for your girlfriend, honesty is always best. I'd suggest you level with her regarding what happened before you met her and your current concerns while waiting for your definitive three-month test. I would also advise condoms are a wise move to prevent not only STDs, including HIV, but also unwanted pregnancies.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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