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Last question

Jul 31, 2008

I'm the worried pierced gal! I started with a tickle in my throat about 2 weeks ago, now yesterday I suddenly came down with what seems like a cold. Still tickle in throat,sneezing, running nose, stuffy nose when laying down and congestion. Does any of that sound like ars? No sore throat, no fever, no rash...just what I listed. It started yesterday and thursday will be 4 weeks after piercing incident. Is that too late for ars, or does it even sound like ars? I will leave a huge donation for all your time you have given to me. I just want to end this worry now. Thank you so much for putting up with me. My anxiety has got the best of me.

Response from Dr. Frascino


Yep, your anxiety has indeed gotten the best of you! What you have is undoubtedly a common cold, not the relatively uncommon HIV infection! The timeframe and symptom complex you report is not worrisome for HIV acute retroviral syndrome. My assessment and advice remain unchanged. I remain confident that should you decide to get HIV tested at the three-month mark, the results will be WOO-HOOably negative!

Stop worrying! Try a yoga class or maybe a cosmopolitan? Thanks for your donation to the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation ( It's warmly appreciated. Plus, helping others who are less fortunate is a wonderful way to rack up excellent cosmic karma with the higher powers!

Dr. Bob

Peircing Jul 26, 2008

You had responded to a nose piercing scare I had about 3 weeks ago. I didn't see the guy sterilize the needle but "if" it was re-used and the was a small amount of blood, it was 10 minutes or so after the last person. 2 weeks after that, I got a tickle in my throat for more than a week. Is that an ARS symptom? I have no fever, no sore throat.. nothing. Just that tickle in my throat that makes me cough a bit (not a constant cough). It's pretty dry, an occasional congestion too. Do I have anything to worry about? The needle was hallow, but very thin (safety pin size) It was not used for several minutes. I can't sleep, eat, work.. I'm a mess. I don't know if I'm focusing on the tickle so much and it's my anxiety causing this. Please help. I will donate again, not for an answer, but because you help so many of us. Giving back is the best gift. Thank you so much.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Pierced-Nose Gal (or Guy),

A throat tickle is not an ARS symptom. I absolutely agree your anxiety is the most likely cause. My assessment and advice remain unchanged form my initial response. (See below.) Thanks again for your tax-deductible donations to the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation. They are warmly appreciated. And by the way, the new nose jewelry looks quite fetching and fashionable.

Stay well. Stop worrying!

Dr. Bob

Piercing risk? Jul 15, 2008

I just recently got my nose pierced. The place is really clean and reputable, but when the guy pierced me I didn't see him take the needle out of packaging or anything. If he re-used the piercing needle...which is a slanted, pointed tip and hallow inside yet very small in width ( size of a safety pin) and NOT a syringe. So if the needle was re-used and had blood on it, but used on me about 10 minutes after the last person, was there a risk. I know hiv dies rapidly outside body. So since it was used about 10 minutes after the lst person, would the virus have been killed by then? I don't know if I'm being paranoid or what, but I wasn't sure since the needle was so thin, if that was a great risk. As well as it being through my nose, not into a vein. Pleas help me! Thank you for all your help. I would like to leave a donation, where should I send?

Response from Dr. Frascino


Piercing has a theoretical risk for HIV transmission. However, considering your piercing palace was "really clean and reputable" and the nose piercing needle (OUCHAMAGOUCHA!!!) hadn't been used for at least "10 minutes" (wow, do people really come into that shop every 10 minutes to have metal transfixed through their noses?), I would say your HIV risk is extremely remote at best. Yes, I do think you are being paranoid. However, if you remain concerned, a single rapid HIV test at the three-month mark will give you a definitive result and put all your residual (unwarranted) worries permanently to rest, OK?

Donation information for the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation can be found on the foundation's Web site at The foundation's address is:

The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation 1000 Fremont Ave., Suite 145 Los Altos, CA 94024

Be well. Stay well.

Dr. Bob

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