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should you remain worried?
Aug 13, 2009

dear dr bob, i do not intend to be insolent, rude or arrogant...you sometimes advise people to test "if they remain worried"...it seems you do so in very low risk exposures such as unprotected oral...isn't that throwing their question back at them? shouldn't the medical expert be telling them whether they should worry or not?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Your question is not insolent, rude or arrogant! Based on the information provided in their question, I always try to advise questioners of their level of risk (for instance "essentially nonexistent, negligible, low risk, high risk," etc.). For extremely low and even some "essentially nonexistent" risks I will add that "if you remain worried get a single HIV-antibody test." This is primarily for peace of mind. Some folks can't tolerate even a theoretically nearly nonexistent risk when it comes to HIV. A quick check of the archives will introduce you to a number of these folks. So even though their risk of acquiring HIV is less than getting smashed to smithereens by an errant meteorite while hitching a ride on a bus full of Mormons going to a circuit party, they need to see the "negative" test result to calm their irrational fears.

The bottom line is that I'm not here to advise people whether to worry. (They do that all on their own.) I'm here primarily to assess their level of HIV-transmission/acquisition risk.

Dr. Bob



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