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You've helped so many..please one more!
Apr 17, 2008

I have been on your site for the past 10 weeks reading, learning, and waiting to be tested. I want to thank you for all that you do. I honestly think you have saved numerous people from hurting themselves mentally or physically. I just had one quick question (I'm sure something like this has been asked but perhaps not like this..I hope you can respond) can you develop ARS Symptoms within 24-48 hours after a possible exposure? If so how likely is it? I had a unprotected sex with a girl at college (had sex very early on Sunday, around 4 AM, just to give you a time frame) and the next morning, Monday, I woke up with a very sore throat and had the head pressure, swollen lymph nodes under my ears, the aches, and congestion. Doctor diagnosed it as strep (did not take a strep test, said he could tell when he looked in my mouth and saw my tonsils and stated it was going around), gave me antibiotics and everything cleared up within 3 days. I do remember being around a girl for a bit that had strep that weekend but I just wanted to see what you thought. I hope you have a chance to respond but I also understand you get thousands of emails; I just don't think anyone has asked something like this. Furthermore, I wanted to let you know I am deeply upset by some of the comments people send in to you about not going to get tested. Yes, I too am highly nervous/scared about being tested (just like everyone else on here) but it is my responsibility to get tested after something like this. I'm just trying to patiently wait. Thanks again Dr. Bob!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

You've been on this site for 10 weeks??? Dude, time to take a break for some sleep, food and sex. (OK, well safer sex anyway.)

Actually I looked back over the past 10 weeks of responses and I count more than a dozen responses where I addressed your question! Dude, not only do you have to be on the site, you actually have to read the responses as well! (See below for a small sampling of responses that address your concern. There are lots more in the archives!)

Briefly, ARS symptoms take two to three weeks to manifest themselves, not 24-48 hours! ARS symptoms also don't respond to anti-bacterial antibiotics infections, because ARS is caused by a virus, not a bacteria. Whether your sore throat was strep or something else, one thing is certain: It wasn't caused by HIV ARS! OK?

Be well. Good luck with your three-month definitive HIV test.

Dr. Bob

Thank you for responding Dr Bob Mar 3, 2008

It was an honour to get your reply! Thank you so much!! I don't mean to keep bugging you at all doc but if you ever have the time I'd love to know your opinion on my current situation, I am still worried but the wole "miserable dude" story and your good karma has helped me much aswell as this site.

I have a flu after this past weekend of sleeping with a prostitute (after having protected sex and Blowjob with the condom on)I got soaked after a concert so I am guessing that's why it became worse but I had it two days after the situation happened. Needless to say I feel guilt and alot of emotional pain after doing somehting like that I guess you could call me "miserable dude 2" since I had some exposures back in december aswell. I'm not sure what to do if you can elaborate on this if you have sometime it would of great help..if not that's fine aswell. Thank you for the good vibes and I hope you have an aweosme weekend

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Thanks for your kind comments. Regarding your current concerns I've covered these issues many times in this forum. Have a look in the archives for detailed responses.

Briefly:

1. Symptoms of acute retroviral syndrome (ARS) following primary HIV infection do not show up within hours to a few days after exposure. They generally manifest themselves two-three weeks following primary infection. Consequently your "flu" 48 hours after sex is most likely not HIV related.

2. Protected sex is indeed protected, assuming the latex condom was used properly and did not break.

3. The only reason you are a "miserable dude" is you are a "guilty guy!"

Dr. Bob

Air Force guy in Iraq very worried! Feb 15, 2008

Hi Doc, thank you for all of your help. It really means a lot.

About two months ago, I had unprotected sex with a woman I didnt know. The very next day, I started having a dull ache in my pubic area. A couple of weeks after that, I started devolping a foul odor. There's no way to put this nicely, but when I farted, it smelled different too. Now, two months later, though the odor is gone, I still have those pains in the pubic area. I am also having a pain in my right knee. I am very worried that I am HIV positive, but some things just don't make sense. They say that symptoms start two weeks after you're infected and last for only six weeks. Mine started the day after I had sex, and have lasted for two months! What's the deal doc? Is this common? do I have HIV, or some other STD like Chlymidia or Gonnorea? I want to thank you for all of your help. I will never be able to explain how much it means to me.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hey Air Force Guy,

Unprotected sex does place you at some degree of risk for STDs, including HIV. Consequently, symptoms or no symptoms, you should have an HIV test at the three-month mark. That said, you also should not be overly concerned about your current symptoms being related to HIV. Symptoms, like smelly farts, pubic pain and right knee discomfort, are not suggestive of or worrisome for HIV. Also HIV-related symptoms do not appear "the very next day." They take several weeks from the time of exposure to manifest.

My advice is simple:

1. Get your current symptoms, if they are persistent, checked out by your medical team.

2. Get an HIV-antibody test at the three-month mark.

3. Always use latex condoms to avoid ever putting yourself in this predicament again.

4. Come home safe and sound (and soon!).

(Obama will be president fairly soon and we'll have you out of there ASAP.)

Good luck. Stay safe.

Dr. Bob

Fleshlight Risk Apr 5, 2008

I recently bought a Fleshlight. I realised that the package wasn't sealed. Anyway, I left it overnight, and washed it twice with soap the next morning before using it. 2 weeks later, I used it again a few times, and likewise washed in between use.

Problem is, if someone with HIV used it before (probably the shopowner), I'm worrying that the HIV might not die in the Fleshlight, since the interior of the Fleshlight is not dry, though air still passes through. Or worrying that perhaps the "repeated exposure" to the toy means "repeated exposure" to HIV.

Now I'm really worrying and making myself feel sick. I'm beginning to be depressed and have been losing sleep frequently. Please advice me.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

It seems that many folks who buy or use sex toys, particularly these fleshlight things, freak out after they shoot their load into the "patented, high-quality material designed to replicate the sensation of penetrative sex!" What's up with that? One would assume you horned-up dudes are using these latex and "secretly patented" squishy gadgets as substitutes for the real thing because either (1) you look like Dick Cheney and no one in their right mind would have sex with you or (2) you're worried about STDs and want to avoid any and all risks while taking care of your Sergeant Pepper. Either way one would not expect so many of you nervous nellies to be such nervous wrecks after popping your corks in these synthetic orifices, considering the HIV risk is beyond nonexistent. And yes, dude, that applies to your risk as well: nonexistent! Be depressed and lose sleep if you look like Cheney and can't get a sex date, but don't be depressed about schtooping your synthetic playmate. I'll reprint some similar questions below from the archives that hopefully will lift your spirits as well as offer enlightenment.

Dr. Bob

Fleshlight a risk (SEX TOYS/funny question) Feb 21, 2007

Hello,

And thank you for you response and I appreciate your advice. I am starting to get worried now, it has been 72 hours since this happenend, and I have now developed a sore throat and tonsils are swelling. I know the whole theory "symptoms do not equal HIV", but is this common for a sore throat to occur if this was a sign of infection of HIV this soon? I know you answer these all the time, but I am now starting to freak out, is it too late for PEP, I am not even sure this is available in my area? I am so starting to get worried now. Any advice here now?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

My advice would be as follows:

1. Take three big cleansing and calming yoga breaths in and out. Go ahead. We'll wait. There. Doesn't that feel better?

2. Next, realize that "symptoms" beginning 72 hours after a potential exposure would not be HIV related. It takes weeks, not hours, for the symptoms of ARS (acute retroviral syndrome) to manifest. Whatever is causing your sore throat, it's not HIV.

3. Stop worrying if you should start PEP. It's definitely not indicated.

4. Read through the archives of this forum. Yes, all of them! There is a wealth of information there and you are demonstrating a significant lack of basic HIV knowledge related to HIV transmission, prevention, symptoms and treatment. It's time to get informed!!

Dr. Bob

Fleshlight a risk (SEX TOYS/funny question) Feb 19, 2007

Hello,

I would like to say I think you are great at what you are doing on here.

My question is, I am a gay man, and recently hooked up with another guy. I am unsure of his HIV status. He performed oral sex on me, there was french kissing mutual JO. But what I am concerned with is, he used what they call the "Fleshlight" on me. But taking turns on himself. As far as I am aware he did not ejaculate in it, but I am concerned there may be precum or something in it. Should I be worried of a risk of HIV transmission if he was positive? I get tested every 3 to 6 mths for my own saftey but I would like to know if I am really at risk for sharing that. I appreciate any advice.

Thanks

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Sex toys should not be shared unless you put a condom on the ones that penetrate you and/or a condom on you for the ones you penetrate, like fleshlight, for example. I don't believe your risk for this particularly incident is high, but there is at last a theoretical risk. Consequently, I'd suggest you get an HIV test at the three-month mark. Also, get your own fleshlight and/or stock up on latex condoms before your next hookup. See below for some practical (and some humorous) advice about sex toys reprinted from the archives.

Dr. Bob

Cleaning Toys (SEX TOYS) Dec 14, 2006

I know that we shouldn;t share toys when playing, but can someone else use my toys if I've washed them well, wiped them down with rubbing alcohol, and then ran them thru the dishwaher with a cup of bleach added?

Is that enough?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

As frequently is the case, the answer to your question was already waiting for you in the archives. Have a look (reprinted below)!

Be well.

Dr. Bob

Vancouver question Apr 24, 2006

Dr bob, your forum is excellent. I wish to support it on a regular basis. Question first. On Feb 28, I had shared a anal toy with a male bi-sexual sex worker.it was used on him first then taken out for about 1 min then inserted into me for the next 20 mins or so. I had 2 hiv test done so far but all negative. VDRL was negative too. Hep C is negative too. I am having some symptoms like small sores in mouth and tongue. Ocassional chills, some occassional headaches, a few episodes of drichea, increased pinkishness on my face or cheek areas. Fatigues as well. I am going to get my test done right when i reach the 3 months anniveasry of the exposure. Dr bob can u please let me know the risk involved here of getting hiv.I am dead worried,,,once i am negative,,i will scream yahhooo and send u a big big donation. Thanks a million.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Although I don't know what "a few episodes of drichea . . ." are, I would say your two negative HIV tests to date are encouraging, but not conclusive. I agree you should have a three-month test to get a definitive result.

Sex toys should not be shared without proper cleaning between uses. I also recommend using a condom on sex toys that are shared. I'll repost below a question from the archives that addresses safe sex toy use.

Thanks for your willingness to make a donation (www.concertedeffort.org). I'll send my good-luck karma that your three-month HIV test remains negative.

Good luck!

Dr. Bob

Dr. Bob, Help set the record straight on Sex Toys Sep 21, 2004

Dr. Bob,

I recently bought some anal sex toys (2 rubber plugs and 1 set of jelly beads) and got a little freaked out that maybe they had been used before (although I don't know nor do I have any proof they ever were used). The packaging was a little messed up and I thought I saw a hair on one of the plugs (perhaps it was one of mine from the initial handling). I did a pretty thorough visual exam of each toy and they didn't appear to have any fluids or wetness to them, However, to be safe, I did not use any of the toys for an initial 30 hours and during this 30 hour period I thoroughly washed each toy 4 separate times: twice with antibacterial soap (Triclosan) and twice with regular Irish Spring Bar Soap and let them air dry after each of the 4 washings. I also used fairly hot water (about 50 C to 60 C) for at least one of the rinses. I then used the toys but got freaked out when many of the sex toy sites said that rubber and jelly are porous and can't be sterlized. If the toys had been used before, and given my initial cleansing methods, did I just engage in a potentially "High", "Low", "Extremely Low", or "No Risk" event? Should I be tested for HIV?

J. J.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello JJ,

Wow, if you are that rigorous about cleansing a brand new sex toy, I can only imagine what you must do to a brand new boyfriend before having nookie with him. Is it true you sent your last boyfriend through a carwash three times strapped butt naked to the hood of a Hummer before you let him give you a hummer? And the boyfriend before that was stuffed into an industrial-strength front-loading washer with an extra dose of chlorine (water temp. 60-75C and) and then tumbled dried before you let him stuff and tumble you in bed??? OK, enough about making "dirty" boys squeaky clean. Let's talk about sex toys. Sex toys would pose an HIV risk only if the person using the toy before you was HIV positive and got some of their blood, pre-cum, semen, post-cum, or vaginal secretions on the toy, and the toy was used almost immediately after the infected person used it, and the infected person's body fluids had direct access to your mucosal surfaces or bloodstream. As you can see, your story does not meet these criteria.

It's surprising that some folks are fearful of contracting HIV from sex toys purchased new from adult stores. Do you really think it's likely someone else would have previously used that exact item??? Even Nordstrom wouldn't accept butt plug returns! And remember, the toy would have had to be used immediately before you. In essence, there is no risk of contracting HIV from new toys just purchased from a store. OK?

Now, just to be complete, I'll mention that to prevent HIV transmission when toying around with sex toys, simply wash the toy with soap and water immediately after you use it (and before anyone else uses it). You can, of course, also wash the toy immediately before you play with it. I would definitely consider the four washing cycles lasting 30 hours that you had with your new jelly and rubber friends to be excessive foreplay.

So, was your risk "high, low, extremely low, or no???" Hopefully by now, you know it's no! No? Yes, it's no!

Should you be tested for HIV? No. No risk means no reason to test. By the way, just how much money do you spend on cleaning products in an average month at your house?

Stay well J.J.

Dr. Bob

Cucumber Aug 14, 2005

Used a cucumber bought at grocery store as an anal toy. I was alone (I am a male.)I did not share it as it was a private masturbation. I put it in a stong bleach solution for 1 hour prior to use and washed it about 4 times with soap. was this an possible hiv risk.Iam married and just concerned. Thankyou

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

You marinated a cucumber for an hour in strong bleach and then washed it four times before sticking it up your butt, and you are worried about HIV???? Hmmm . . . just how much action do you think this cucumber had prior to your "picking him up" in the vegetable aisle? Even if the grocery store was a "Piggly Wiggly," you have absolutely nothing to fear. I suggest you spend some time on this site learning about sex, safer sex, basic HIV information and sex toys. I'm a bit concerned what might happen when you get to the watermelon aisle.

Dr. Bob

Sacred to death from insertion of a used sex toy Nov 21, 2005

I had a few drinks and found myself tied to a couch 5 days ago with a man inserting butt plugs and dildos of various sizes up my butt. He used plenty of lube, but it still hurt like heck. He tried to insert his penis once but i pushed him away, so he sucked on me (i did not even get hard) for about 20 minutes before I managed to break free. I then removed the large dildo and the ball gag and ran home and soaked in a hot tub of water feeling violated. I do not know his HIV status, nor how long it had been since he used the toys but it had to be at least 20 minutes or more. He claimed he washed all his toys with bleach and i was a paranoid whimp. I am losing sleep and am making myself feel sick. Please let me know what my risk of HIV infection is, and if I should get tested. I cant stand not knowing who to talk to. Thank You. Scared in New York

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Scared in New York,

You had a few drinks and "found" yourself tied to a couch with a ball gag in your mouth and a man inserting butt plugs and dildos of various sizes up your butt???? That was after a few drinks??? Gosh, I can't imagine what would have happened if he had bought you diner. So this dude tried to insert his penis, but you pushed him away??? Hmmm . . . how did you do that while being tied to the couch? O.K., never mind. Let's move on to your questions. Overall your HIV risk is low. If indeed dildo-guy did wash his toys with bleach and he did not insert his dick, your HIV risk is limited to unprotected insertive oral sex with a weirdo. I'd recommend:

1. HIV testing at three months.

2. Changing your drinking establishment.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob

Someone else used my sex toy without my Knowledge??!! Sep 12, 2005

Hey Doctor Bob. First you are a great man for giving advice and guidance to everyone who needs it. Its truly remarkable.

I recently went abroad for a few days and took my anal sex toy with me. I used it three times, washed it after each use, and used plenty of lube. After the first time I used it I developed a nasty rash on my thumb, arm and leg which may well have been due to insect bites or another cause.. Thereafter I felt a diarrhoea like pain in my stomach on and off although not to the extent where I had to visit the toilet regularly. In fact each time I used the toilet, there was no actual diarrhoea, only pain in my stomach. I passed waste normally.

I got a little worried as these are symptoms for initial H.I.V infection. To compound my fears, one of the hotel cleaners came into my hotel room once whilst I was dozing. I then began to think that he might have visited my hotel room previously and 'tampered' with my sex toy. I know it sounds paranoid and crazy, but I am terrified that this could have happened. Each time I used my toy I used it about two hours after coming back to my hotel room, rinsed the toy briefly and then washed it more throughly after use. I put it in a bag with another toy in a drawer so it was in a closed environment most of the time. As the virus is not really exposed to air, I keep thinking it is possible that the virus could still breed in this sort of atmosphere...

I guess what I am asking is if its possible that the virus survived in the closed environment and got into my body assuming that the toy had been tampered with. I should have washed the toy more throughly before use or better yet used a condom, but the idea that someone else has been messing around with my sex toy has really freaked me out. Since I have got back, I have still a pain in my stomach after I eat, though it doesn't force me to go the toilet and I am passing waste regularly as normal. I have also developed a mild sore throat...Please help me doc as I am freaking out so badly and am sure that something is wrong.

Thank you very much for your help Doctor Bob and I hope you respond soon and give me some news, good or bad..

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Let me get this straight. You are worried that a hotel maid or room service attendant might have come into your hotel room, opened your drawer, found a bag, opened it, found your butt plug and immediately decided to plug themselves with it??? Hmmm . . . now exactly what kind of hotel were you staying in???

Yep, it all "sounds paranoid and crazy" to me, too.

HIV risk? None.

Paranoia risk? Off the charts.

I suggest you seek counseling. You do have a problem; it's just not HIV.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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