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Scared: ARS-like symptoms after mutual masterbation
Dec 24, 2008

Dear Dr. Bob:

I scared. Alone. And I'm unable to wait three months.

On December 3, I went to Steamworks Chicago (a bathhouse) with the intent on engaging in low risk behavior. I met a guy there and asked what he liked to do.

"Everything, as long as it's safe," he answered.

We went back to his room for some unprotected oral sex (I did insert his penis in my mouth for about 30 seconds - mostly he went down on me). We engaged in frottage, deep kissing, mutual masterbation (without lube), and oral sex (him going down on me).

I asked he would bottom for me. He sighed and said he had hemerroids and that he doctor told him to be careful. I asked all these questions, yet I never asked if he was positive.

He was a pre-cummer, and there was a point where his pre-cum was on my hand. I think I used that very hand to continue jerking myself off until I came.

We laid there for a while and then went our seperate ways. Later, in the shower, I noticed that I had a red sore (or raw spot) on my penis from jerking off without lubricant.

I woke up later that night with sudden panic: "I have HIV," I thought.

For weeks, I haven't slept. I'm withdrawing from others, and I'm spending endless hours researching my risks and looking for tests with a shorter than 25-day window period.

I didn't learn about PEP until >72 hours. I didn't realize that pre-cum is a high risk fluid.

Now 2.5 weeks later, I'm having flu-like symptoms: sore throat, dry cough, headache, night chills.

I wished I never went to Steamworks. I wished I had known more about risk before having sex with strangers. I wish I had asked his status (though I'd probably be freaked anyways).

I'm scared and unsure what to do next. I don't think I can wait until March 3 for an answer. I'm not sleeping and it's affecting my work. Can I get an RNA test in Michigan? Can I find an answer before March 3?

I'm so sorry to ask. I'm so sorry for my ignorance. I'm so sorry for having sex with strangers. I'm even comtemplating suicide...

What can I do?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Your HIV-acquisition risk is negligible at best. Your fears are way out of proportion to any degree of real risk. Symptoms are notoriously unreliable in predicting who is and is not HIV infected. If you have been "contemplating suicide," you need to seek the help of a psychiatrist without delay. The psychiatrist will be able to help you cope with the anxiety of waiting through the window period for a conclusive HIV test result. I'm quite confident your three-month definitive HIV test result will be negative. The statistical odds are astronomically in your favor, OK? Use the waiting period to learn more about HIV, HIV prevention and safer sexual practices. Sex is supposed to be fun, not anxiety provoking. This Web site has a wealth of information on it. Check it out!

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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