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Desperate to Trust My Negative
Aug 24, 2008

Dear Dr. Bob,

I hope that you will answer my question, although I understand that you are very busy and many people write in questions. However, I have been very stressed and afraid for over a year and I really need your help in trusting and letting go.

Last May (2007) I had a relationship with a man (of unknown serostatus) (I am female) and we engaged in unprotected oral sex (me to him). There was no ejaculation. Approximately 5 days after this encounter I woke up with the most intense sore throat, I thought I had a fever but upon taking my temperature found I did not. I also had a dry cough that seemed to be only in my throat. I also thought there was a rash on my lower tummy - by my belly button - but this only lasted a day at the most. The sore throat lasted about 3 days, and then it went away - and the cough remained for a few days more. He did not appear to be sick at all. We engaged in a handful more unprotected BJ's until the end of July (to my regret). Then he moved and I didn't see him again until Christmas (2007). After this is when I realized that my behavior may have put me at risk for HIV. I did the "google" thing and began to fear that the intense sore throat and possible rash that I experienced in May of 2007 was actually ARS.

I suffered in fear and silence for about 6 months (24 weeks and 5 days to be exact) and then sought testing. I did a EIA from LabCorp for HIV 1/o/2.(testing was done in June 2008) It was negative. However, I am afraid that perhaps I cannot trust it and all I can think about is those symptoms that I had in May of 2007. I want to trust my results so badly and walk in freedom - but I have these lingering fears/ doubts. So I have come to you as a last resort...praying that you will reassure me...encourage me to Whohoo perhaps....

My questions: 1. Can a trust my 24 week 5 day EIA negative despite my symptoms in May 2007? If that was ARS wouldn't it have shown up 13 months later on this test?

2. Alot of people here do so many tests (more than a single EIA)...do you really need to do more than a single test? I was so afraid to take this test which is why I waited nearly until 6 months after the last encounter (Christmas 2007) in order to test - b/c I wanted to only take one test. Am I foolish given possible lab error and my May 2007 sore throat to trust my single June 2008 negative result?

I am shaking with fear and doubt - so if you can find it in your kind and generous spirit to answer me...I would forever be grateful.

I realize now that unprotected oral sex is not "safe" sex and am disappointed that I did not know that sooner. For some reason I thought that if there was no ejaculation then I was safe...now b/c of your work I will not be doing that anymore.

I have so much respect for what you do and so much compassion for those like me on this forum and for those who have this disease. Thank you for answering my letter/ concerns. With your help I hope to be able to move on.

Thanks again, Desperate to Trust my negative

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Desperate to Trust My Negative,

1. Absofrickinlutely yes to both questions!

2. Absofrickinlutely no to both questions!

Oral sex carries only a very slight risk for HIV-acquisition/transmission. Peruse the information in the archives of this forum. We have a whole chapter devoted to oral sex. Your negative EIA at six months is definitive and conclusive. HIV is not your problem. No way. No how. Once again, check out the archives. We have a whole chapter devoted to HIV-test results as well!

Being "very stressed and afraid for over a year" is far too long. Your problem is not HIV, but rather fear of HIV. If you continue to worry, despite my reassurance and the irrefutable evidence of your negative HIV test, I'd suggest you seek counseling to help you confront your totally unwarranted anxieties. You should be WOO-HOOing, not worrying, OK?

Dr. Bob



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