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Scared... PLEASE help!!

May 18, 2011

I am attracted to your answers, you seem like a caring person. I also reviewed your foundation site and was impressed with all the things you do and contribute to. I know you get a lot of worried people emailing you but I am confused when it comes to HIV risk. Some people do not comment much on the risk with oral sex exposure, they just say "if you've had a chance of exposure get tested"... a cookie cutter response. (I understand why) Other times someone posted a story about having had intercourse with a prostitute and the condom slipping off and the HIV expert said he was still at low risk and that he wasn't overly concerned?? That sounds crazy to me. Another expert said people have to say "Theoretical" risk... but really oral sex is not a concern. So... it's all over the map and of course I am SCARED because I have had protected intercourse but a small amount of unprotected oral with a coupe of different women who I do not know their HIV status. (I did my best to avoid any vaginal fluid) and was pretty sure both exposures were safe. The condom didn't break or slip off - I even read the package to make sure it was latex and filled it with water after to ensure it was all intact. But a couple weeks later I am having all sorts of symptoms, which fit in with the ARS timlines. The doctor told me it is just a common viral infection - but we both know that's a common diagnosis at a doctors office even though it may be more serious. I AM EXPERIENCING sore, (but not swollen according to the Dr.) glands in my head, neck, shoulders and sides... possibly even groin. I feel like I have a fever, but my temperature in normal? One reason I'm very concerned was bleeding at the front of my gum, however I'm not sure if it was present during the oral sex or not? I feel a bit shaky and tense/sore all over. I will get tested... but as of today I would have to wait for 2 months to get a clear result and I NEED YOUR PROFESSIONAL OPINION... do I pose much/any risk? Are my symptoms just feeling under the weather mixed with anxiety? Do I need to be tested? The anxiety waiting for the test alone might kill me. I have a wonderful life and don't want to add HIV to the mix. PLEASE help. Thank you for all your support. Also, you don't get into how your life is going being HIV positive since the early 90's and I'm genuinely interested. Thank you for your consideration. I can also make a donation to your foundation. I don't have a ton of money as I'm trying to get a business off the ground but I'm sure I can contribute. Thanks "Worried"

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Worried,

Protected sex is considered "protected," assuming the latex condoms were used properly and didn't fail (break). Oral sex carries a very low risk for HIV transmission/acquisition. See link below.

Symptoms are unreliable in predicting who is and is not HIV infected.

The primary reason for you to consider HIV testing would be to gain psychological peace of mind. If you need help coping with your anxiety during the three-month window period, talk to your doctor. Counseling and/or anti-anxiety medications can be very helpful.

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 will be negative. I'm quite confident it indeed will be.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob

HIV from receiving oral sex (TRANSMISSION VIA ORAL SEX, 2011)

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