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Should I be tested?

May 25, 2009

Hey Dr. Bob,

I first just wanted to thank you for the compassion, humor, and knowledge you bring to people in desperate need. The way you have turned a hardship in your own life into a positive for so many others is truly inspiring.

I know that many aspects of my situation aren't unique and have been previously addressed, and I have read through as much of the relevant information in the archives as possible, but I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something before I forego testing based on that. I will try to keep it brief.

I had a sexual encounter with a girl whose status is unknown, but I am concerned about it because of things she told me about a previous boyfriend (he may have used IV drugs, though I don't know if he shared needles), and the fact that she may have been somewhat promiscuous for a short time. I just have a really bad feeling about it.

During our encounter we made out heavily, during which time I heavily kissed and occasionally sucked her neck, leaving a mild hickey. It wasn't bleeding or anything from what I saw, but it was noticably red for a day after.

She also gave me a few hand jobs. I noticed later that she had a small cut on her finger of the same hand. It looked like it was at least a few days old and essentially healed over, but it's possible that this area came into contact with the head of my penis while she was doing it for brief periods.

I know that these are only theoretical risks in the minds of most medical professionals, but I have a bad feeling about her status.

Do you think I need to be tested at 3 months based on this?

Thanks so much for your reply and for doing what you do.

Response from Dr. Frascino


Thanks for your kind comments.

Having a "bad feeling" about having HIV and actually having HIV are two very different things. Your HIV-acquisition risk is essentially nonexistent. HIV testing is not medically warranted. That said, you obviously are freaked out by this walk on the wild side. If my reassurance is not sufficient for you to shake your fears, you should get a single HIV-antibody test at the three-month mark. The results will undoubtedly be negative. However, if testing allows you to put your (unwarranted) worries permanently to rest, psychologically it my well be worth the time and effort to test.

Good luck. Be well. (I'm quite confident you are indeed well.)

Dr. Bob

Emergency Room HIV Transmission Risk

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