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What are my chances of testing negative? Very Worried
May 15, 2009

Question to the sexiest, funniest and sweetest doctor I know: After 3 years of constantly suffering, reading posts, searching in the internet for symptoms HIV, I decided to finally get tested because I am getting married soon. I am a 32 year old woman that has had 5 sexual partners (too many???) and my risks are unprotected oral sex with one of them but he never cummed inside my mouth(several times, we were in a monogamous relationship for 3 years)and one episode of very brief unprotected sex with him(again without cumming inside me). My other risks have been protected oral/vaginal and frottage with the rest of my partners (I didn't want to put anyone in risk as I don't know my status). So I assume these were not risky, as I never noticed a problem with the condom. I remember I developed flu like symptoms, a couple of times during these years, and that is why I am so afraid to test. I remember that one time the symptoms were so strong (high fever, horrible night sweats, fatigue, cero appetite, a very swollen gland on the back of my ear, tonsilitis). I went to the doctor terrified but he said I had a low risk exposure (oral unprotected sex without cum)so we has not worried about HIV and he told me it was the flu and an ear infection. Reading in the internet made me realize that doctors normally miss diagnose ARS if you are not considered "high risk group" and I have had all the ARS typical symptoms (except for the rash). The problem is that I never tested and I always remember that flu and I suffer, and I am very anxious thinking it was ARS and that I was miss diagnosed. So finally, my questions are: 1. Do you know someone that became HIV+ after oral (without cum)? A lot of cases? 2. Would you agree with my doctor that I had a low risk exposure and therefore the HIV was not recommended, and that maybe I just had a normal flu back then? 3. Frottage is considered low risk or zero risk? 3. Do you think I still have chances of testing negative after those horrible sympotms, and finally getting married? Important to say: I do not know my ex's status. I am sure you have answered these questions 1,000,000 times before...I just want to know your opinion and your good luck karma.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Three years of "constantly suffering, reading posts, searching the Internet for symptoms . . . ." Hmm . . . well obviously if you were reading the posts in this column you certainly weren't following the advice both I and gazillions of posters have been preaching!

I agree with your doctor: Your HIV-acquisition risk is negligible, at best.

Symptoms are notoriously unreliable in predicting who is and is not HIV infected.

Why are you so freaked out about getting the flu "a couple of times during these years . . . ."??? The flu is an incredibly common ailment! Jumping immediately to HIV disease is a quantum leap similar to concluding a headache must be terminal brain cancer!

To address your specific questions:

1. No. Oral sex carries an extremely low risk for HIV transmission/acquisition.

2. I do agree with your doctor that most likely you had the "normal flu" and not HIV. I also agree your HIV risk is very low. However, because you had some risk, including "very brief unprotected sex," I would recommend getting a routine HIV-antibody test. The odds remain astronomically in your favor that you did not contract HIV. However, considering your fixation on HIV, I feel an HIV test is certainly warranted psychologically so you can put your fears permanently to rest and give yourself a swift kick in the butt for being such a ninny over the past three years.

3. Frottage is not considered a risk for HIV.

3. (Another #3?) Yes, of course I do! Haven't you been paying attention to the above?

Yes, I have "answered this question 1,000,000 times before . . . ," but apparently there are still folks like you that do not believe my responses or the testimonials of gazillions of folks in the archives. So now your post will be added to the archives for someone else to ignore. And so it goes.

My good-luck karma has been sent!

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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