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Stupid Mistakes, Preventable Consequences
Oct 11, 2009

Dr. Bob

First off, I have been following you for years and have donated in 06,07, and 08. About time to do it again. You are awesome and I know a couple of friends who have literally stepped back from the edge of a bridge after reading your responses.

Anyways, I have run into an odd situation here and am worried. I am 24 and I have practiced safe sex for the last 6 years with 2 exceptions. About 9 1/2 weeks ago, I was thinking with my other head and had sex with a 22 yr old gal and it was unprotected. No cuts or scratches on me or her that I could see and I "finished". I did the same thing with the same girl about 7 days ago as well. Anyways, yesturday morning I woke up with very intense pain on the left side of my groin (lymph area swollen) and as the day went on, I went from around 99 degree temp to roughly 102, sore joints, muscles, and just generally crappy feeling. Took some advil last night and when I woke up today, I felt generally ok but the lymph node in my groin area (just left side) is still tender and hurts.

Does this sound high risk to you? I plan to get tested again regardless as I have in the past but the whole swollen node and fever make the paranoid think ARS. I know better than to make this kind of mistake. Not worth the agony of freaking out.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Thanks for your kind comments and your donations to The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org). Both are warmly appreciated.

Unprotected sex does place you at risk for STDs, including HIV. Consequently STD screening and HIV testing are warranted.

"Symptoms" are notoriously unreliable in predicting who is and is not HIV infected. You need to rely on the results of your HIV-antibody test, not the presence or absence of symptoms. That said, your symptoms do not meet the usual timeline for acute retroviral syndrome (ARS) symptoms, which generally become manifest two to three weeks after primary HIV infection. Your symptoms appeared "late" for your first episode and "early" for your repeat performance. Also, the adenopathy (swollen glands) that occurs with HIV disease is generalized (multiple locations) and usually not painful. Chances are you just have a routine "flu." It's far more common (especially during this season) than HIV ARS.

I'm sending you my good-luck karma that your definitive HIV-antibody test is negative. I'm also hopeful this will be your last lapse in judgment. However, it is a well-documented fact that the higher powers gave men both a penis and a brain, but only enough blood to run one at a time.

Good luck! Be well!

Dr. Bob



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