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Question on risk of exposure and relevance of symptoms
Sep 25, 2009

Hey Dr. Bob!

I actually wrote to you many years ago with a question regarding an encounter I had... and thought I had learned my lesson with a big scare and negative test (1 year). However, I've managed to scare myself again... and I would really appreciate your input.

My fiance and I had an encounter with a couple that we knew to be into the "swinger" lifestyle. Neither of us had sex with the other couple, but there was a brief instance where my fiance and I bumpted teeth and I got a tiny laceration on my lip. Nothing big, but I knew it was there cause I tasted salt (I'm guessing a small amount of blood).

Of course I should have flashed back to my paranoia from years before, but I didn't. Instead, I then performed oral sex on the other girl for a minute or so. From what I've read, this would seem to be low-risk. But, it would also seem entirely possible that a few molecules of her vaginal fluid may have met the scratch on my lip.

Secondly, I monitored myself very closely for any of the typical ARS symptoms over the following 2-4 weeks, no problem.

Today, exactly 6 weeks post-"exposure", a raised non-itchy chest rash appeared "v-shape". I did quite a bit of research, and although there are other causes for the rash, HIV ARS is always one of the top 5-10. I don't like the coincidence.

And don't worry, I'm getting the test at 12 weeks, 3 months and 6 months. I could just use a medical opinion from the PRO at this point.

Thanks so much for everything you're doing! I hope you are still staying healthy and constantly wish you the best. I donated after your last word of advice, planning on doing the same again.

Scared and can't learn a lesson.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Scared and Can't Learn a Lesson,

Welcome back to the forum!

I agree your HIV-acquisition risk is extremely low at best.

Six weeks would be well beyond the usual two-three week period when the symptoms of acute retroviral syndrome (ARS) generally become manifest. Also, having only a "v shaped" rash on your chest would not be characteristic of ARS. I'm quite confident your rash is not HIV related. If the rash is bothering you, see a dermatologist.

As for HIV testing, a single HIV-antibody test at the three-month mark is really all that's necessary for a definitive test result. I'm certain it will be negative.

Thanks for your donation to The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org). In return I'm sending you my good-luck karma that your definitive HIV test remains negative.

Be well. Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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