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Sweet 16 is not so sweet

Dec 24, 2008

I'm 16 and I recently had my first experience at oral sex. When he "finished" a small amount of his semen went in my mouth before I pulled it out. It was in my mouth a minute or so before I spit it out in the restroom. A few weeks later (not sure how long, maybe 3-4 weeks) i came down with the first day in the morning watery stool that only lasted a couple of hours (only went to the restroom twice) stuffy/runny nose, congestion headache,slight earache off/on for 1 1/2 days, slight stiff neck for 2 days mainly just in the morning, at the third day tickly throat/cough. All the other symtoms mainly got better by the second day, and the third day it was just the tickly cough. Are these symptoms of ARS? I have NO ONE to talk to, and get so much misinformation on the web. Please help educate me! I will send cash for donation, I don't have a credit card so my allowance money is going to you!!

Response from Dr. Frascino


It's unfortunate and potentially dangerous that so many sexually active adolescents and young adults "have NO ONE to talk to" about sex! You are correct: There is an enormous amount of misinformation on the Web (and also in some non-science-based "sex-education" programs, particularly those with religious overtones and also Dubya's "abstinence-only" programs).

Returning to your situation, oral sex carries only a very slight risk for HIV transmission/acquisition. (Check out the archives. We have a whole chapter devoted to oral sex.)

"Symptoms" are notoriously unreliable in predicting who is and is not HIV infected. (The archives also have a chapter devoted to symptoms.) I'll repost below some information from the archives concerning ARS symptoms.

If you remain worried about HIV despite your negligible risk, get an HIV-antibody test at the three-month mark. HIV-antibody tests taken prior to three months are not considered to be definitive. The odds are beyond astronomical that you did not contract HIV from this first-time sexperience. As for accurate science-based information about safer sexual practices and HIV-related topics, I recommend this Web site and its related links. I also suggest you begin advocating for science-based sex education in your school.

Good luck. Happy Holidays.

Dr. Bob

ARS Symptoms Nov 26, 2008

Dear Doc Bob,

My sincerest congratulations on your recent marriage. May your union be blessed & filled with happiness for many many years!

I can't help but look up to your noble efforts in advising perhaps tons of people. I've read through most of your advises & have learned a lot from you. Going straight to my query, you've advised a lot of worried folks that their symptoms are "not worrisome of acute retroviral syndrome (ARS)." I'd like to shoot the question: what exactly are symptoms which you will advise as "worrisome" of ARS? In case there are any historical posts answering this query, would you be kind enough to guide me & perhaps others who might have the same question in mind?

Many thanks & God bless us all!

-Worry Wart

Response from Dr. Frascino


Thanks for the congratulations and good wishes.

Regarding ARS symptoms, see below.

Dr. Bob

What exactly are the symptoms of ARS? Nov 15, 2005

Dr. Bob,

Hi there. I've been reading through many of the postings in this forum. Most of the people who write-in are labeled "worried wells" and you tell them that their symptoms are not consistent with the true symptoms of ARS.

I was wondering if you could share with us what you believe the true symptoms of ARS to be. I've found lots of websites describing them, but I want to hear it from a reputable and definitive source such as yourself.

Thanks a lot.

Response from Dr. Frascino


Sure, just check the archives. I've discussed this many times before. I'll repost below just one of the questions that addresses the signs and symptoms associated with primary HIV infection.

Stay well. Be informed, not worried, O.K.?

Dr. Bob

Me again! Aug 14, 2005

Hi DOc,

You responded to my initial question a few weeks back - thank you so much. You also responded to my partner who was recently diagnosed positive - that was so helpful. Incidentally, I think it was the first time he used a computer in his life - so you achieved more than I have with him there!

Anyway, sorry to bother you again - its now 8 / 9 weeks since my last exposure - I think I am imagining swollen glands all the time! Could you kindly answer two small questions. Firstly, how long after infection do people normally get ARS and symptoms? Secondly, what symmptoms are characteristic?

Thankyou for helping. My partner is being really strong - andw e will get through this together, I love that american term worry well - yes I am a british one of those, sorry!! xx

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Brit-Boy,

You're welcome!

Chances are you are indeed "imagining" swollen glands all the time. Regarding ARS, symptoms generally appear 1-3 weeks of contracting the virus. Sometimes symptoms may not appear until 4-6 weeks. It is called a syndrome (Acute Retroviral Syndrome), because it is a collection of symptoms that can be extremely variable form person to person. In fact, symptoms alone are notoriously unreliable in predicting HIV infection. It is estimated that 40-90% of acutely infected folks will have some ARS symptoms. But to specifically answer your question, the following is a list of symptoms associated with ARS and the percentage of time the symptoms are present:

Fever 96%

Adenopathy 74%

Pharyngitis 70%

Rash 70%

Myalgias 54%

Headache 32%

Diarrhea 32%

Nausea or vomiting 27%

Hepatosplenomegaly 14%

Thrush 12%

Neurologic symptoms 12%

The duration of symptoms is generally 1-3 weeks.

Regarding your lover's use of the computer, now that he's discovered the wonders of Internet look out!!!! He just may get so hooked that the only way you'll be able to converse with him is via IM-ing!

Good luck!

Dr. Bob

should i test?
No one will help me...

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