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Is my doctor over reacting?
Nov 26, 2009

I went to the doctor's for a simple case of cold sores. I mentioned that my armpit was aching (as usual when I have an outbreak). He prescribed me the usual cream and then sent me off for a HIV test (which I have in a week's time - yes a whole week to sit and wait!!!). His answer to my question "Why is that necessary" was simply "protocol". My sexual history is of insertive (unprotected) oral sex and very very few (OK 2) cases of protected insertive anal sex. As far as I can work out from previous posts I am low risk. Why would my doctor order a test? Am I missing something? Should I be worried (I am, extremely, by the way)? Thanks in advance.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Your doctor's explanation was far from adequate to appropriately address your very reasonable question! However, his suggestion that you be HIV tested is not "over reacting."

Your need to get HIV tested has little, if anything, to do with your cold sores. Certainly the vast, vast number of cases of cold sores have absolutely nothing to do with HIV. The reason to worry or get HIV tested is based solely on HIV-exposure risk. You report you have unprotected oral sex. This carries a very low risk for HIV transmission. Consequently, HIV screening periodically would be warranted. Protected insertive anal sex would be "protected" assuming the latex or polyurethane condom was used properly and did not break. You are correct: Your overall risk is low. However "low" is not "no," so getting an HIV screening test is not unreasonable.

Should you be worried? No. That would be "over reacting"

Dr. Bob



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