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Response from the Top Engineer + Digital Hugs Attached ;)
Apr 5, 2008

Hey Doc,

Thanks for your detailed response. I really appreciate it. I just wanted to mention a few things about your response ! 1- As for the statistics, you're right ! I know the estimated statistics per exposure. However, as you know better than me, these statistics depend on a variety of parameters including but not limited to size of the sample pool, accuracy of the tests or evidence used, characteristics of each individual (race, immunity of each person at the time of exposure, circumcision, genetic background) and many other things ! So I think these statistics some times create the false hope of the danger being too far away ! The sense that I had at the time of the exposure but the danger was much closer than what I thought . 2- I think 5 drunken hookups with unknown status people is way above average number of drunken and careless hookups ! I think most people have one or maximum two. I was the stupid one who kept doing it thinking I am superman ! 3- Regarding my symptoms, how would you explain an extremely healthy person (flu once every three or four years, and can't even remember last time I caught a cold!!) with no history of antibiotics coming up with tongue yeast infection ? ( I did smoke for a couple of years but at the time yeast infection showed up had given it up for about a month). ENT told me I have a yeast infection ! (Arguable since I took Nystatin for a week and didnt help at all so I still have it !!) Also at the same time a sore throat that won't go away after three months. And the painful armpit nodes ! 4- I think my nodes are enlarged (not visible from outside) since I can feel they're putting pressure on the adjacent tissues and muscles and that is why I have pain ! 5- I absolutely think you're amazing !! I am not in fear of HIV to be honest. I am in fear of how narrow minded people would treat me. How my family would cut me from their lives, and how I would be alone. 6- I agree ! I think I still have issues. But not about fear of HIV.

With hugs

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

The bottom line does not change. Self diagnosis is inappropriate. Your assessment of your degree of HIV risk is way out of proportion to any actual degree of risk. Your "symptoms" are not suggestive of HIV. "Thinking" your nodes are large is different than actually having enlarged nodes. Irrational fear of HIV or irrational fear of issues related to HIV is all part of "irrational fear!" Choosing to believe you are HIV positive without a shred of evidence and refusing to get HIV tested are manifestations of that fear.

My assessment and recommendations remain unchanged. (See below.)

Dr. Bob

Please Read. Digital Hugs Attached :) Apr 3, 2008

Hi Doc,

It has been great to read your forum. There is so much to learn not only scientifically, but also in terms of your perspective on life which is amazing and unique. I really wish you the best at all stages in life, which I really hope and believe will be long. Post my story for those who read please. It is educational ! I graduated top 2% of my class and went to college in England. Graduated top 1% and now am doing a PhD in Engineering here. My name is on the top 100 inventor list in universities across States. I have wonderful family, great friends and everything one can want ! There is always a twist though ! Three years ago I got a bad depression due to loss of my brother and acted completely reckless !! (Obviously not intentionally). I started drinking and having sex ! I slept with 6 unknown status women. And guess what ? Unprotected !! I got over depression after six months, and after a year felt completely normal ! Now after three years, things are catching up ! I developed a sligh candidiasis of tongue three months ago. I took nystatin but it didn't help! After 5 days I stopped taking Nystatin. The very rough tongue, with occasional white coatings, and also occasional burn is still there now. It gets worse some days, and on its own, gets better some other days, and some days totally dissapears. Whatever it is, its not normal ! I've never been like this. Also, starting at the same time (three months ago), I started to have a slight sore throat. ENT told me its acid reflux, but meds for that didn't help. So I think ENT was wrong in her diagnosis. I am pretty sure this is Hiv catching up with me ! Recently my lymph nodes under arm have been painful ! I can't feel them but I can feel the pain. The size hasn't changed though. I have been doing some research, and considering the time scale of these problems, it is all Hiv related. 5 unprotected exposures with unknown status people ! How could the virus miss me ? It sounded unfair at the beginning. Why me ? But according to you, we didn't look for it ! It found us. Just for everyone who reads out there. You always think it won't happen to you. But it will if you're careless. I had depression, and at the time didn't think about this. But now I do think about it, and am so regretful. A couple of drunk nights, some weed, and then you would do any thing !! I haven't gotten tested because I don't see any point. I am sure this is Aids. Having it is not a big deal to me anymore. I just regret how I behaved and how I got it. It is all so hard to take in. Anyway, thanks for your forum. It is awesome how relieved I feel everytime I read your posts. To know there are people out there going through the same thing, and to know there are people like you who are not only dealing with their own problems with Hiv, but also are dealing with other people's stress and anxiety too ! Man you have a strong personality. I think you're great, and doing a great job. I donated 50$, and wish could donate more, but can't since financially can't afford it. Love, and hugs.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Sure I'll post your comments primarily as yet another example of exactly what I hope the readers of this forum will not do! Self diagnose!

You may be tops in your engineering class, but you fail the "common sense" test.

Fact: You had unprotected sex and therefore put yourself at risk for STDs, including HIV. No one is denying that. However, your follow-up statement "Five unprotected exposures with unknown status people! How could the virus miss me?" is a quantum leap into the absurd. Certainly a PhD engineer should know a bit more about statistics than that! The estimated per-act risk of acquiring HIV from unprotected penile-vaginal sex with a partner confirmed to be HIV positive is 10 per 10,000 exposures! Your estimated risk would be even less, as we don't know the status of your drunken hook-ups.

Next, your "symptoms" are not suggestive of or worrisome for HIV disease! It's amazing you are willing to disregard an ENT specialist's assessment and instead just assume "it's HIV catching up with (you)"! Now remind me, which medical school did you graduate from? As for the painful lymph nodes under your arm, please note the lymphadenopathy associated with HIV disease is characterized by enlarged lymph nodes that are generalized (located throughout the body) and that are not painful. So your problem doesn't fit that description at all. Your lymph nodes are not enlarged and are painful!

Next, you state: "I haven't gotten tested because I don't see any point. I am sure this is AIDS." Considering your overall HIV risk is low and your "symptoms" are not suggestive of HIV, I'd say that statement of yours stems from irrational HIV fear, depression, anxiety and guilt, rather than any true believe you have HIV/AIDS.

You report you "had" depression. I question your use of the past tense. There's no doubt you still have significant psychological/psychiatric issues related to irrational fears of HIV.

I have two pieces of advice for you:

1. Get HIV tested. I'm confident you'll be pleasantly surprised by the results and will be soon writing me a note stating you can't believe what a dumb ass you've been worrying about a disease you never had.

2. Get psychiatric/psychological help for your irrational fears of HIV infection.

Continuing to "believe" you are HIV infected would be a very foolish and psychologically damaging choice to make. Yes there are indeed "people out there going through the same thing" that you are experiencing; however, that thing is irrational, unwarranted HIV fear, not HIV disease. There is indeed a difference.

Dr. Bob



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