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Lumbar puncture
May 16, 2010

Dear Doctor,

I have been positive for over 3 years now, on meds (sustiva and epzicom) and condition stable (UD and CD4 at 480). Much to my surprise I was tested reactive to syphilis by my own GP when I said a single red spot started to appear on my penis. I said to my surprise because I could count all my encounters with both hands after my diagnosis, and all involved just unprotected oral and kissing (though of course I knew/know the risks of other STDs... lesson learned).

My ID doc is very aggressive when it comes to the pox and almost always order a lumbar puncture even the infection is recent (my last test was done only 6 months ago and it was fine). After consulting other opinions I decided to go ahead with it.

To cut a long story short - my doc who did the LP poked around a few times and still failed to get the fluid. I felt the most incredible pain ever in my life. But what worried me now is that she said there was small amount of bleeding at the site where she put in the needle. The LP was eventually done successfully by another doc half an hour later.

Now I worry about any possible side effects or cross-infection that could be caused by bleeding during a LP. Should I tell my ID doctor about this incident?

Thanks, Bubble

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Bubble,

STDs that cause sores and blisters (like syphilis and herpes) are easily transmitted via unprotected oral sex.

Your fears about "side effects or cross-infection" from your unsuccessful lumbar puncture are unwarranted. You certainly can inform your I.D. physician if you wish, but there is no cause for concern.

Dr. Bob



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