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Searched archives and could not find an answer! Please Help!

Oct 13, 2009

Hi Doctor Bob!

I'd just like to say I think what you do on this site and with your own foundation is incredible! I enjoy reading your responses equally for the medical advice and for the humour, and I think that engaging readers in this manner is perfect for ensuring the information is absorbed.

Anyway, I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and I tend to worry quite considerably about HIV. I've found that I am able to control the thoughts when they relate to something clearly irrational (ie shaking hands with someone when I have a cut on my hand etc), however, there are often times where the risk is not so clear cut and it's difficult to find information that relates specifically to my 'risk'.

So I had sex the other night with a girl of unknown status. I wore a condom, however, I have what appears to be a blocked Sebaceous Gland on the lower end of my penis. It's swollen and it appears that if I was to try I could pop it, however, I have not done this. The condom did not cover the blocked Sebaceous Gland.

The following factors also apply:

1. At some point, I touched the condom which had the female's vaginal fluid on it, I then touched the Sebaceous gland with the same hand to see if the condom had covered the Sebaceous gland, which it had not. I'm concerned about the vaginal fluid from my hand getting on to/in to the Sebaceous gland.

2. Less than a week ago I showed the blocked Sebaceous gland to a doctor at a Sexual Health Clinic. I asked the doctor about a recent sexual encounter I had (not the one I am currently questioning) in which the condom did not cover the Sebaceous gland during vaginal intercourse. The doctor stated that there was no risk from this.

3. The girl I slept with has recently returned from a trip to the United States (I live in Australia) where HIV is more prevalent. I've known this girl for a number of years and she is quite promiscuous and I know she does not always use condoms. She now has serious acne since returning from the trip, whereas previously her skin was fine. I have also read that having HIV can lead to acne break outs.

4. The blocked Sebaceous gland has a tiny 'dot' in the middle of it if I was to look close at it. I don't know if this is just the opening of the pore or whatever, I'm not a dermatologist nor is dermatology a hobby of mine. I'm 99.99 percent sure it is not an open sore as there is no appearance of it being opened, the doctor at the sexual health clinic indicated that it was not a risk and the fact that when I washed it with soap and water it did not sting. It's not red or anything, it's just raised and appears to have some fluid in it. It's basically just a larger version of all the other Sebaceous glands. I don't think I've ever type the phrase 'Sebaceous gland' so much in my life!

My question is, given the above factors, what is the chance that I acquired HIV from this episode? Do you recommend testing?

Also, I plan on donating to The Robert James Frascino AIDS foundation, regardless of whether you answer the question of course (but PLEASE answer!)

Thanks mate,

Scared Aussie OCD Dude!

Response from Dr. Frascino

G'day OCD Aussie Dude,

Thanks for your kind comments! Your fears are unwarranted. I agree with the advice you received from the sexual health clinic. The HIV risk is essentially nonexistent.

If you're worried about the sebaceous gland (or just tired of typing "sebaceous gland" so many times), why not visit a dermatologist and get it taken care of? That would give you one less thing to "OCD" about. When it comes to OCD and HIV, things can quickly spin OOC (out of control).

If, for whatever reason, my reassurance is not sufficient for you to shake your worries (or if you feel you've placed yourself at other risk for HIV), get a single HIV-antibody test at the three-month mark. Don't worry mate, based on what you've written, "she'll be apples!" Now go make yourself a nice "cuppa," have one of those awful tasting Vegemite sandwiches and relax Max!

Thanks for your donation to The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation ( It's warmly appreciated!

Be well!

Dr. Bob

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