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Third time trying - will donate
Nov 10, 2009

Dr. Bob:

I'm sorry to be taking up your time with all these questions, but I am a mess. I went through the archives multiple times, and I know my situation is not that unique, but it still is not reassuring for me. Every day I am sleepwalking and cannot get rid of this cloud hanging over me, so please if you could respond, I think it would at least help with my anxiety and depression.

A little over three weeks ago, I went to an all-nude strip club and got a dance. When she danced, of course my hands were all over her, but she actually moved my hands to finger her vagina. I think I felt secretions on it (and washed them immediately after the dance) although I didn't notice any open cuts or wounds. Also, though, she unzipped my pants and stroked my penis as well. What really freaked me out was that it looks like she was willing to go all the way if I had wanted to, but luckily I came to my senses and did not go that far. It did really freak me out though (afterward of course) and made me think she might be a high-risk individual. She did continue to rub against me though, so there was some "frottage" but I think my clothes covered enough so that I don't think my penis never touched her or her vagina although I did end up ejaculating (so I don't 100% remember). To make things worth, I just had my teeth cleaned, but I never kissed her or put my mouth on her body.

Almost immediately after for the next few days, my teeth began to throb (perhaps from the dental work?) and I began losing my appetite. For the two weeks following that incident, I continued suffering loss of appetite plus intermittent diahrrea. Then during the end of the second week and third week, I had a severe case of dry mouth with a white tongue (but at least as far as I could tell, no thrush).

That's better now, but now in the fourth week, it feels like I am having enlarged/irritating nodes in my groin area. I am not in the best of shape so I can't tell if its actually the nodes or I pulled something (i've also had back problems), but just in the last day or two, it started with the right groin area and I feel just a twinge on the left. I also think I've had a large right lymph note, but oddly enough not a left one, and I keep thinking maybe I've made it worse or that way by poking and prodding at it. I also had just one night where I had a mild fever sweat and diahrrea again for a day or two. I haven't had any fever as far as I can tell but have also been sleeping a lot, although I think its from the stress and worry.

I have already told my wife and praying she doesn't leave me and I have children as well and have these irrational (?) fears of exposing them. I have been so freaked out, I went in to get tested at 3 days, 10 days and 21 days and so far they have all come back negative. I know to be three months out but I have been so scared that I couldn't wait. Will try to wait a reasonable time before my next test.

So I guess my questions for you are 1) what kind of risk did I create for myself based on the above; 2) would the symptoms described above generally be ARS; 3) any hope of using the 21 day test as at least encouraging? I plan to do one more at the 6 week mark and then the definite 3 month test 4) any encouraging words you can offer to help me assuage the anxiety, fear and depression that is taking over?

Thanks again for all the work you do. I do hope you post this not just for me but for others who might happen to read it. While its up to each person what they do or don't do, and I am certainly no critic, I hope some people reading this will at least think twice about engaging in "risky activity" (or at least enage in safe sex). Even if the results are good, the accompanying emotions are not worth it and it still may cost me my familty. If the results are bad, then it will truly be devestating.

Thanks again and a donation will be in the mail.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

You accurately describe your problem when you use words like "anxiety and depression . . . stress and worry . . . and irrational fears . . . ." Your HIV-acquisition risk is nonexistent. Your problem is not HIV, but rather guilt and fear of HIV! I would strongly urge you to seek counseling (psychotherapy) to help you cope with your anxiety, depression and irrational fears.

Responding to your specific questions:

1. Your HIV-acquisition risk is essentially nonexistent.

2. No.

3. All negative HIV tests are "encouraging."

4. HIV tests taken prior to the three-month mark cannot be considered definitive.

5. Sure. How about "you are HIV negative" and "go see a shrink, because your problem is psychological, not virological!"

Thank you for your donation to The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org). It's warmly appreciated. In return I'm sending you my good-luck/good-health karma that you are and will stay HIV negative.

Good luck. Be well.

Dr. Bob



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