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fear of transmission to my children
Apr 28, 2010

Hi Dr Bob, Have been regularly viewing your forums for along time and hope you can help.You are an inspiration .I am a heterosexual 46 year old diagnosed pos in june 2008 after a single exposure in may 2008.My cd4 currently 444 with vl of 30,000.I have 2 sons of 8 & 10.I am desperately worried with fears and anxiety that i may have infected them.Ive been told by my doc and health carer that i have no worries.In october last year i had a scab on the back of my hand that i knocked nd it broke ,it bled slightly but the scab remained intact .As i was leaving my bedroom my youngest son ran into me and touched my hand with the scab on.I quickly asked him to turn his hand over so i could see his fingers.I could not see any obvious signs of any blood,he ran off and played and i thought nothing more of it.10 days later one evening he became ill vomitting and evere headache.I ended up taking him to hospital A & E.Doctor advised he had no temperature checked him out and within 2 hours he appeared ok.Next day seemed fine.9 days after that he developed an itchy rash on his face.His mum (we are divorced some 4 years and she is unaware of my status)said he had face paints on 2 days previous and believed this was the cause .However this was the catalyst for intense worry and anxiety on my part.In mid november he developed a cold and since then 4 - 5 months,has had continuous what appears to be allergic rhinitis.(runny conjested nose,itchy)More recently his eczema has got worse.(He has a history of eczema & asthma although not severe).I have been worried sick that i have infected him and continuously monitering his health.Every time he is sick .For example he woke up with tummy ache and was sick the other night and i panic he has hiv,again he appeared ok in the morning.I have also been worrying that maybe i have missed something and unknowingly put him at risk in the last 2 years .I have had a nosebleed when they have been around and worried ive missed a drop of blood he has touched and picked his nose which he is always doing.This crossed my mind with the scab senario.Im a mess at moment worrying all these symtoms relate to hiv.I cannot remember all the senarios of the past 2 years and have just continued to be a dad.I love them so much and would be destroyed if i caused any harm to them.It wasnt until my sons symptoms that i started panicking .I was doing ok up until that point.Is this just irrational anxiety?Does hiv make eczama and allergies worse?Would hiv cause tummy ache and vomitting for 1 - 2 hours ?ive also had anxiety regardging my other son.Hes had bowts of tiredness and nausea occasionally.Im currently having some counselling through a local support group.Ive even contemplated getting them tested but i dont want to put them through that and feel it would be selfish of me.Do i need to go that far? Please Help!! I will forward a donation asap. Many Thanks Worried in England.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Worried in England,

That you were infected with HIV after a single heterosexual exposure is indeed unfortunate and should serve as a cautionary tale for all who are reading this forum.

I absolutely agree with the advice you were given by your doctor. You have not placed your sons at risk of acquiring HIV. Your fears are unwarranted. You ask: "Is this just irrational anxiety?" Yep! I'm glad you are getting some counseling at a local support group. You may need one-on-one psychotherapy (counseling) to adequately address and conquer your irrational fears. Certainly HIV testing your sons is not warranted. HIV cannot be transmitted via casual contact. Nor can HIV permeate intact skin. Your sons are not at risk! Stop worrying and give them a hug and kiss. Continue to address your fears with your HIV doctor and an HIV-knowledgeable psychologist.

Thanks for your donation to The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org). It's very warmly appreciated.

Be well.

Dr. Bob



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