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They don't add up - What's wrong thrice?
Jul 29, 2011

Dear Bob,

I thank you from the bottom of my heart with your previous replies. But I am turning into a nervous wreck with my symptoms and I cannot help but feel that I am at high risk of contracting HIV. I really hope not.

You advised risk was non-existent, however I have been perusing the archives and found that you mentioned that non-intact skin poses a certain degree of risk, albeit low risk.

First, I'd like to describe my symptoms. I have itchy skin all over my body, sometimes on areas without visible rashes. I have some red rash spots that do not itch. And some of the areas that itch without visible rash, starts developing into a blotch of red rash after scratching and stay itchy. After the itch goes away, the rash stays and turns dark after a few days. I still get the occasional itch with or without rashes. It bothers me to the point its crippled my ability to think right and affects my daily routine and work. The fact that this symptom started about 10 days after exposure exacerbated my risk concern. Its too much of a coincidence? And the symptoms have still not gone away.

Second, what sort of risk entails fingering with non-intact skin? I find it hard to square with reports saying HIV enters via microscopic wounds and cuts, and people saying fingering with minor open cuts are low risk. Clearly if an opportunity presents itself to for HIV to enter, it seems certain HIV will do so. Mine certainly wasnt a bleeding cut, just a small cut but compared with a microscopic cut, mine seems magnified in magnitude.

I am sorry Bob, but I think it will help alot of worried people ( I seriously pray I am just another worried well but symptoms seem too worrying), if we can get to the risk level of fingering with non-intact skin. It seems like a certain part of sex activity for penetrative sex or not with most individuals. In my case, it was fingering before protected oral sex.

And lastly, I dont think its fair to dismiss the possibibilty that the sex worker was newly infected as HIV screening clearly states 3 months prior as undetectable. You advocate that, dont you? So now, I'm at the 3 week mark, should I go for the definitive? Or an absolute 3 month wait is necessary? I have a serious concern about exposing my minor cut to the vaginal fluids of a newly infected HIV person who has very high viral load. Besides, my symptoms dont help in calming me at all.

I love your work, and I really appreciate your efforts! Thank you for being here for all the people who visit thebody, virally enhanced or not. Stay well and take care, I care.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello.

Are you back again??? Despite your level of anxiety, my assessment remains unchanged. It's up to you if you want to accept it or worry yourself into a padded cell.

1. Your rash is not suggestive of HIV. I suggest you see a dermatologist to have this problem diagnosed and appropriately treated.

2. Non-intact skin that comes into contact with infected bodily fluids is a theoretical risk. There is no indication your gal-pal was virally enhanced. In fact there is strong suggestive evidence she is not (negative HIV test). The chance she is in her seroconversion window period is remote at best.

3. You may not think it's fair, but I certainly do! A single HIV-antibody test at the three-month mark will provide a definitive result. That result will undoubtedly be negative.

Finally, I suggest you consider seeking help from a licensed mental health practitioner to confront your irrational HIV fears and to treat your anxiety.

Dr. Bob

They don' add up - What's wrong again? Jul 21, 2011



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