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waiting on test, but what are my chances?
Dec 16, 2010

Hey Dr. Bob, First i want to start out by saying happy holidays and i really appreciate what you do on this forum. OK so to start i want to begin by telling you my story. I am a senior in college now but back when i was a sophomore i engaged in some pretty risky activity. As stupid as i was and as uneducated about the topic and how i thought it would never find me, i moved between two partners pretty quickly. One was a friend of mine i met through a friend and we used condoms but after a few times she assured me she was clean so we went on unprotected. Then second semester, i met a girl who was friends with the people next door and we started hanging out. Again we used condoms and again she said she was clean and we had unprotected. No matter what i was told i was an absolute IDIOT for not using protection. Turns out both were pretty promiscuous. Anyways at some point during my time with the second girl i came down with an awful illness after baseball practice one day. I remember my throat feeling a little itchy and i went back to the room took and nap and when i woke up i had such awful pains in my midsection (back), maybe it was my lymph nodes, that i could not even move. I almost cried. I don't recall if i had a fever or anything even though i very well could have. Anyways the next morning i was picked up by my parents and i was able to move around much better. Went to the doctor at home the next day as i was definitely feeling better and they took blood and tested for mono which i already had. The test came back negative and they said it was probably just some virus nagging me. I returned to school and baseball practice after about 3 days. It never occurred to me that that could have been my ARS symptoms until now. meanwhile about a month and a half later, i experienced a rash generally on my upper arms and around my knees and i NEVER get rashes. Again i never though anything about it. i went to the school doctor and i got some pill that made it go away that day so i only had the rash for two days. Now it's been almost two years since then and because i have been so dumb and naive i realized those could have been my symptoms. I now have a new girlfriend who i love with all my heart and i know i want to marry but now this horror is present in my mind. I really think i am positive and i am waiting on my test results. I haven't told her because i didn't want her to panic. I feel so awful i am lost. I don't deserve to live if i have given her this awful disease. What do you think doctor? i know it doesn't look good. I will donate to your charity as i fear i may be heading down the path of those it benefits.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

While it is true that unprotected insertive penile-vaginal sex with two partners of unknown HIV status does place you at some degree of risk for STDs, including HIV, I'm much more optimistic about your dodging the HIV bullet than you appear to be. Statistically speaking, the odds are all in your favor that you did not contract the virus from these unprotected episodes of horizontal mattress mambo.

Regarding acute retroviral syndrome (ARS) symptoms, please note symptoms are notoriously unreliable in predicting who is and is not HIV infected. Your symptoms and the time course over which they manifested are not suggestive of or worrisome for ARS.

Your test results should be ready soon. There is an excellent chance you'll soon be WOO-HOO-ing rather than worrying.

Thanks for your support of the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org). It's warmly appreciated during this holiday season of giving. In return I'm sending you my good-luck karma that your HIV test is negative. (By the way, my good-luck karma continues to bat 1000 and has never failed!)

Good luck. Happy Healthy Holidays.

Dr. Bob



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