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getting conflicting information PLEASE HELP
Mar 12, 2008

hi. i have read a million other posts but they all seem to be conflicting of each other and i was hoping you could help!! i know the only way to know for sure is to get tested but i am not sure if i am ready for that yet.

i had a high risk unprotected anal sex encounter less than 5 months ago, october 2007. i was heavily intoxicated and highly regret it, i am a female, i do not know his status.

about a month later i started to get horrible swollen and bleeding gums, no gum issues my whole life ever. it subsided and has recently returned as bad if not worse where my gums are swollen over some of my teeth, but they subside after a few days. i have read so many conflicting things about gingivitus and gum problems in early hiv. is less than 5 months too early for the gums to be reacting like that, i did get a horrible flu about 9 weeks after, which i hear is too late for ars. i am also experiencing a horrible dry, sticky mouth, thrush and underneath my armpits have been swollen for months almost to where they itch. i have dismissed those because i read that you get those symptoms later in advanced hiv.

my main concerns are the gum issues. can you please shed some light if they would be an early symptom- 5 months after possible infection, or if they are indeed later symptoms and i should not be freaking out so much. thank you so much, i know you get bomarded with questions but i cannot function in my daily life. a donation is on the way. thanks!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

You state, "I know the only way to know for sure is to get tested but I am not sure if I am ready for that yet." You conclude your post with the comment ". . . I cannot function in my daily life."

So my dear, since you are now so freaked out by the possibility of having contracted HIV that you are becoming essentially nonfunctional, exactly when will you be "ready" to test?

One thing that I'm willing to bet is that those "million" posts you read were in complete agreement on one very basic fact. Because you had unprotected sex, you are at risk for STDs, including HIV, and therefore you absolutely need an HIV-antibody test at the three-month mark, right? Yeah, thought so. You would need this test just as much if you had absolutely no symptoms or "every symptom in the book." Nothing else really matters, does it? You need to get tested. Period. End of story!

Symptoms are notoriously unreliable in predicting who is and is not HIV infected. So trying to second guess your symptoms and their timing is extraordinarily unhelpful.

My advice is simple:

1. Get tested without further delay.

2. If you are having gum problems, see your dentist.

There really aren't any other viable or logical options.

Thanks for your donation to the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org). In return I'm sending you my good-luck karma that your definitive HIV test will be negative.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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