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Sometimes being careful is not enough
Jul 6, 2008

Dear Dr.Bob,

I think it's time for me to go and get tested. Being only 20, and having a wonderful educational life with a bright future I can't believe that I've been so stupid in the last 8 months. I've slept with my ex-girlfriend several times and for the first time in my life I did not use condoms with her. She told me not to use, she was only 19 and I just thought it was ok. I thought she knew what she was doing. Later on, I found out that she was sleeping with random guys from the bars without being protected. I'm also a little bit furious because she had told me that she was using protection. Few days after sleeping with her I started to have this pain while urinating. Even though not necessarily hiv, I believe that it's a sign of other stds. Second big mistake that I've maded in the last 8 months was to go to Thailand and get extremely drunk. Then I went to sleep with that thai bar girl. Luckily I used condoms, the girl seemed to be quite careful about it but now I began to think that the condom broke, because it felt somehow different. And it is highly probable that I did not notice it since I was extremely drunk. I know that there's nothing I can do beside getting tested but I still wanted to write to you and share my story. What can be this pain while urinating, is it a sign of std ? Secondly if I had a std and that my condom broke in thailand, what would be my chances of getting hiv? I am extremely scared now that I may have hiv and that I ruined my life, all the hard works I've done so far for my education was for nothing. But at least you are there and giving hopes to those who are in need like an angel, thanks for you work Dr. Bob.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

"Sometimes being careful is not enough"??? Well, that depends on how you define "being careful"! If being careful is defined as believing your ex-girlfriend that condoms are not necessary, I'd agree that's not enough! However, if "being careful" is defined as having safer sex by properly using latex condoms, then it may very well be "enough" to prevent HIV and a host of other STDs!

To specifically address your questions:

1. Burning during urination can indeed be a sign of an STD. You should see your doctor for an STD screen without delay.

2. Unprotected sex (or broken-condom sex) does place you at some degree of risk for STDs, including HIV. You'll need an HIV-antibody test at the three-month mark.

I'm hopeful these two experiences have taught you that unprotected sex is not worth the potential catastrophic consequences and that you'll never again place yourself at risk!

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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