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Skin Abcess (Worried)
Feb 3, 2010

Dr Frascino, I'm worried about my boyfriend he has gotten a skin abcess on right hand side of his buttcheek. We went to the ER and they gave him antibiotics. Excuse me for the gory details but we had a rather rough shag with bleeding the week before he got it, I think maybe the latex friction and the warming lube which isn't really good with latex might have given him a bruise and I'm assuming maybe shit might have contaminated it. I'm once again so sorry to be so graphic. He's on antibiotics now, the doctor said she doesn't think it need drainage. There is a back drop to this of course that deals with HIV, I used to bareback my boyfriend for two years in our relationship as the top partner. I recently had an HIV test 5 months post our last unprotected exposure and was negative. He hasn't tested for whatever reason I don't push him to do it either, because it's his life and he has all these new ventures going for him I don't want his life to regress. So we use Condoms now, both times we've used the condoms he has bled to my dismay. Is he allergic to them? I'm sad now, do skin abscesses happen to HIV infected folk? is it an opportunistic infection? Or is it pretty common with people? I love him so much and don't want anything bad to happen to him. I need advice over all. I mean if I barebacked him for two years if he was positive wouldn't it be logical that I might be too?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

First and perhaps most important, I'm very pleased to read that you and your Mr. Right have decided to quite barebacking. BRAVO! I do so wish everyone were as enlightened and logical as the two of you! We could stop HIV cold in its track if we all did our part to prevent further viral transmission.

Regarding your HIV risk, certainly if your buddy was positively charged, you would indeed have been playing sexual Russian Roulette with each unprotected plunge. However, despite the risk it's still possible even after two years of Brokeback Mountain antics to remain HIV negative! Thankfully not every HIV exposure leads to HIV transmission. (In fact, most don't!) But I must hasten to add it's also possible to contract the virus with only a single exposure, just as you can win the lottery with a single ticket. Regarding your next step, you should test out to six months to confirm your HIV-negative status.

As to latex allergy, this can indeed be a serious (even life-threatening) problem. What you describe, however, does not sound like true allergy. Rather, friction, warming lube and the "rough shag" most likely caused irritation and some trauma. Any break in the skin can then become secondarily infected. Skin abscesses are common and not specifically linked to or characteristic of HIV disease. I would suggest you try some different types of condoms (including polyurethane or polyisoprene) and some different types of compatible lubricating agents. Shags can be both passionate and safe. Remember, "lubrication is your friend." You obviously love your guy, so with this in mind adjusting your sexual rituals for both safety as well as satisfaction should be doable.

Good luck to you both. Be well. Be safe.

Dr. Bob



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