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Worried father of 17 year old son
Sep 8, 2009

Dear Dr.. I have an unusual situation. I'm a father of a 17 year old boy. I am very concerned about a possible HIV exposure he may have. I came home early one day about 1 1/2 weeks ago. My son was home and was playing loud music in his bedroom. He didn't expect me to be home early. I went up to his bedroom to tell him to turn down the music. I opened the door to his room to my shock and horror. He had his pants down and another boy was performing oral on him. They jumped up and stopped what they were doing. I yelled at my son and the other boy got up and ran out. I confronted my son. He said he was curious but was not gay. He said he liked girls and he has had girls over. What concerns me the most is his posible exposure to HIV from the other boy. I asked my son about the other boy but he wouldn't tell me anything other than they had been fooling around for a few minutes befor I walked in. He swears that the only thing they did was this other boy had provided oral to him for a minute before I walked in on them. He wasnt wearing a condom.

What worries me is that my son has been complaining of strange symptoms...not feeling well.. upset stomach..has been going to the bathroom frequently..said he hasnt thrown up..pain in his joints and says he has been having buring sensation in his hands. He says he has a stange feeling in his throat. I felt his neck for swollen glands but I couln't tell and he said he feels like they are swollen. We have taken his temperature and its about 99.2

Dr Bob. as a parent I an terrified and also feel like I have failed as a parent. Is it possible that my son has contracted HIV? The exposure and the symptoms sure do seem to point in that direction. I love my son but am disgusted with what he was doing. He says he would never do it again. Is he going to die from AIDS? What tests can we have him go through? Thank you Dr.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

"I love my son but am disgusted with what he was doing." I'm sure your son realizes you are disgusted. The question is does he know you love him? If he was in bed with his girlfriend, would you have been equally disgusted and feel like a failure as a parent? Would you be equally worried about HIV if a girl was giving your son oral sex? Are you "terrified" because your son was having oral sex or because he was having oral gay sex? Certainly some teenagers can be curious about gay sex and "experiment." It's also entirely possible your son is gay despite denying it when you angrily confronted him. Discovering that a son or daughter is or may be gay is difficult for parents. Sexual orientation is innate. It is not a matter of choice. It is not a lifestyle. And most important, it is not abnormal! If you love your son, I would urge you to be supportive of his sexual orientation no matter what it ultimately turns out to be.

From an HIV perspective, unprotected insertive oral sex (gay or straight makes absolutely no difference) carries only an extremely low risk for acquisition of the virus. If you or your son remain worried, he can take an HIV-antibody test at the three-month mark. HIV-antibody tests taken prior to the three-month mark are not considered to be conclusive. I'm confident his HIV test will be negative. I'm much more concerned about your reaction to the possibility that your son might be gay.

For your son's "strange symptoms," he can be evaluated by his general medical doctor. Many of these symptoms may be related to anxiety and stress over this entire situation. Counseling may well help, if he's having sexual orientation issues.

Good luck to you both.

Dr. Bob



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