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Ars or Swine Flu question + donation.
Feb 8, 2010

Dear Dr. Frascino,

I apologize for writing two similar emails but I believe that my last one was incomplete.

I'm fully aware that risk of exposure and not symptoms should be considered and as such I am getting tested but in the interim I'm absolutely terrified.

As before, in Sep I had unprotected vaginal and oral (both receiving and giving) sex with a friend of mine who had previously been in a relationship for several years. This was a once-off incident. Recently she found out that her ex-boyfriend had cheated on her numerous times. I know that the two of them didn't use condoms but I don't know whether he used them with the other girls he slept with.

Almost exactly a month after the incident I had a painful ulcer/canker sore on my tongue which went in a few days. I had been through a pretty stressful couple of weeks before and I had gotten these sores and cold sores in the past whenever I felt run down so I thought nothing of it.

A week after that, October 31, I suddenly came down with a fever from out of nowhere. I had to strip to my tshirt despite the cold rain. This went after a few hours and although I didn't feel very good I felt up to going to a Halloween party and having some drinks. I can't remember how bad I felt the next few days but I know that I definitely wasn't well but by the end of the week I was fine. I believe that the fever was isolated to only a few hours on the 31st with no carry-over.

I didn't think anything of this as 7,000 people per week in were being diagnosed with Swine Flu in Ireland but what worries me now is that no one else in my family caught it nor did anyone at the party although I believe that one had had it previously but I'm not sure.

I've also been sick twice since then. At Christmas everyone in the house caught a cold with a bad sore throat that left us all very fatigued. Last week I visited my friend and caught a cold as everyone in the house had one.

As I said I am going to get tested but it will take over 2 weeks for the results and in the interim I am absolutely terrified. I'm praying that you will read the above and that it will be your opinion that in all likelihood my symptoms were due to the obvious such as stress and the prevalence of Swine Flu rather than HIV but I will only know after the testing.

Regarding the donation, are Euro's acceptable? I've also donated to a UK HIV/Aids charity.

Thank you very much.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Unprotected sex does place you at some risk for STDs, including HIV. Consequently, I agree with your plans to be tested.

Symptoms, as you point out, are not reliable in predicting who is and is not HIV infected. That said, your particular symptoms are neither suggestive of nor worrisome for HIV acute retroviral syndrome (ARS). I agree your symptoms are most likely related to routine seasonal colds/flu, not HIV.

Thank you for your willingness to make a donation to The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org). Yes, Euros are acceptable. Your gift is warmly appreciated. In return I'm sending you my good-luck karma that your definitive HIV-antibody test will be negative. The statistical odds are all in your favor!

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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