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I messed up

Jan 28, 2010

Dr Franscino, On November 8, 2009, I had a horrible lapse of judgement - I had a drunken hetero one-night stand with a stranger while on a business trip in DC. She was from Chicago if that matters. It was one act of unprotected oral sex performed on me and then unprotected vaginal intercourse.

I recently began having flank and abdomen pain and made the mistake of trying to self diagnose. Somehow my search led me towards HIV symptoms and the freak out began. I tried remembering back over the past couple months for any symptoms. I remember having throat trouble and some night sweats. But, I cannot remember experiencing anything else - i.e. fever, weight loss, etc.

Here's the problem... I am a married man and my wife is 32 weeks pregnant. So, my real concern is not for myself, but for my wife and baby, who are both unaware of the potential problem I have exposed them to. All I have read has me freaking out - spending hours a day - thinking I may have possibly infected my family. I am not past the 3 month mark - a couple weeks shy. Nor will I be past the 6 month mark by the time my child is born.

I have not yet been tested. I tried going for a rapid-test today, but apparently they are out of supply and will have more tests available in mid-February. I am debating on a at-home test (Home Access), as I would like quicker results to determine what I need to do.

Do I have any opportunity to suggest to my wife's OBGYN that she be tested without divulging or making my wife aware of the reason? I not only fear losing my wife/vhild to divorce, but also my career, as we both work together. If I am negative, I would choose to possibly divulge my indiscretion after birth. But, having not been out of the 3-6 month window, will I really know 100%?

Worried sick...

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Worried Sick,

Unprotected oral and vaginal sex with a drunken stranger while on a "business trip" to DC does place you at risk for STDs, including HIV. Consequently testing is warranted at the three-month mark.

Your other related problem is guilt. Despite your wife's pregnancy, I would encourage you to level with her now rather than wait until after the birth of your new addition. If the tables were reversed, wouldn't you want to know now rather than later? Being honest is not only the best way to confront your guilt; it's also the right thing to do.

Suggesting to your wife's obstetrician that she be screened for HIV while keeping the reason for the request secret from your wife is a really really bad idea. I'd suggest you man up, take responsibility for your actions, admit your indiscretion and accept the consequences. Your wife will probably be really pissed off (and rightly so), but most marriages do not dissolve over incidents like this. In fact some unions are strengthened by enduring such experiences if they result in greater honesty and commitment.

As for HIV-antibody testing, chances are there are multiple sites in your area offering rapid HIV tests. The Home Access test is also very reliable.

Good luck!

Dr. Bob

Broken condom and testing
Testing for HIV in places other than plasma.

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