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Disease progression - not asking you to play bookie!
Apr 17, 2011

Greetings Dr. Bob I had intercourse with a high-risk female around a year ago, I am not asking you to play bookie and tell me the odds of infection, I am going to get tested but need your insight on the following question please as part of the process of "psyching myself up" to go in for the test.

I have suffered from genital herpes for the past 5 or 6 years. I did not have an outbreak at the time of this encounter (I monitor very closely), but since then my frequency of outbreaks has increased - from say 6 or 7 times per year before to almost monthly now. Could that be a sign of weakened immunity due to HIV infection or due to the usual reasons herpes can increase in frequency - such as increased stress and fatigue (which are indeed applicable to me due to family and work circumstances since that fateful day). I have seen Drs. in the past about my herpes, because I felt the outbreaks were too frequent anyway, I was given various outlooks from "normal" to "concerning" (the latter which prompted an HIV test which returned -ve a good 5 or 6 months since last questionable encounter) My question is therefore, could a reduction in immunity have taken place so quickly (I am certain prior to his encounter that I was HIV negative) or would I have noticed something else? I cannot recall the last time I had even the slightest cold, and am pretty healthy and strong, other than the work-induced fatigue I mentioned above. I hope this can be a question worthy of your time. Many thanks in advance and best wishes for your continued happiness

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Unprotected sex with a high-risk female does place you at some degree of risk for STDs, including HIV. Consequently screening is warranted.

Your increased frequency of genital herpes outbreaks would not be related to a possible HIV exposure one year ago. Talk to your doctor about suppressive therapy for recurrent herpes. Medications are available that decrease the frequency and severity of herpes outbreaks.

Regarding HIV, stop procreating and get tested. You'll be glad you did!

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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