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Worth the worry?

Jan 29, 2011

Dear Dr. Bob,

Thank you for all of the great work that you do here -- it's a really informative and helpful resource.

I'm a 23yo gay male. At the end of 2010, I went out with friends, got very drunk, and met a guy at a club. He had the honesty and decency to tell me, on our way back to his place, that he's positive. Being drunk and idiotic, I shrugged this off without thinking about it. We made out, and he gave me a blow job. I started to rub my penis against his ass, and at one point, tried inserting my penis into his ass, unprotected. Fortunately (though perhaps embarrassingly), I was suffering from whiskey-dick and wasn't able to get it in much, though I believe the head of my penis may have penetrated a bit for a brief period of time. Afterwards, I started to finger him with up to four fingers, one of which had a papercut on it. Neither of us came, and I didn't notice any blood at any point. The next morning, when I sobered up, I worriedly and I suppose insensitively asked him if I had done anything risky with him, and he said I hadn't (though it would have probably been hard for him to tell me that he had). After later discussing my night with a close friend, we decided I didn't need to get PEP, and I didn't worry about it much, though of course, I made a resolution to drink less and to be a lot more sensible in my sex life.

Exactly one month after this encounter, however, I noticed I was feeling tired in addition to having a sore throat, canker sores, and a runny nose. It is flu season where I live, and I've always had a weak immune system, so coming under the weather and having canker sores are not uncommon for me. At the same time, the timing of these symptoms worries me. I have every intention of getting a test at the three-month mark, but the wait is driving me insane. I find myself having difficulties falling/staying asleep, which only adds to my fatigue during the day, which exacerbates my anxiety about being in the acute infection period.

I know you can't give me a definitive answer, but it would be great to have an honest opinion of my risk exposure until I do get tested. What do you think, doc? How worried should I be, and what steps, if any, should I take before the three-month mark?

Thank you very much again for your help, and I look forward to donating to your foundation.

Response from Dr. Frascino


For the level of potential HIV-acquisition risk described, I agree PEP was not warranted; however, HIV testing certainly is. Your overall risk is reasonably low, but not nonexistent. As for steps to take between now and your three-month HIV-antibody test, the only thing to do is learn from this lapse in judgment so that it never happens again. If you are having difficulties with anxiety, depression and/or insomnia, talk to your doctor. Psychotherapy (counseling) and/or anti-anxiety, antidepressant medications may help you get through the window period.

Thanks for your support of The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation ( It's warmly appreciated. In return I'm sending my good-luck karma that your definitive HIV-antibody test is negative.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob

Please Answer!!! Will absolutely donate!
Vaginal sex w/ + boyfriend

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