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Strangest but Truest Posts of 2009 in TheBody.com's "Ask the Experts" Forums

January 11, 2010

We're nearly 30 years into the HIV pandemic, yet a shocking number of people still appear not to know the first thing about HIV. We get to see some of that ignorance firsthand in our "Ask the Experts" forums, where we're sometimes amazed at just how paranoid some folks are about whether they've been exposed to HIV.

We scoured our "Ask the Experts" forums at TheBody.com and nominated 15 posts we feel are the "best of the worst" of 2009 (or the worst of the worst, depending on how you look at it). They're some of the oddest, most nonsensical questions we've seen people ask about HIV this year. Some are shocking, some are sad, many are hilarious -- and they're all reminders of how far we still have to go to educate the world about HIV.

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Reader Comments:

Comment by: Shon (Atlanta) Tue., Feb. 23, 2010 at 3:41 pm EST
OMG! I bet 90% of those posts came to Dr. Bob's forum. He always seem to get the "strange ones." Am I the only one who believes that 99% are fake, just people trying to be humorous. I mean, really! Can anyone be that ummm....uninformed?
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Comment by: Brian Cruz (France) Fri., Feb. 19, 2010 at 11:46 pm EST
It is useful to try everything in practise anyway and I like that here it's always possible to find something new. :)
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Comment by: iris2010 (philadelphia) Wed., Feb. 17, 2010 at 1:47 pm EST
It's amazing how obtuse people can get. I am especially appalled by "the winner" aka "the losers," Silent but Deadly Post. This individual supposedly has a masters degree in public health. I don't know who is worse, him/her or the other imbeciles who need an schooling on sexually transmitted diseases. They could very well be the next carriers from their sheer stupidity in lack of educating themselves.
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Comment by: S.Juma (Limuru,Kenya) Wed., Feb. 17, 2010 at 3:20 am EST
I appreciate the fact that all of you raised the issues.However,all these have a nil possibility of infection.The bottom line is..Prevention and more prevention.Keep it up and we continue to have a less infected society.
Am a health care provider and an H.I.V Counselor.
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Comment by: TSwain (Oman) Sun., Feb. 7, 2010 at 9:15 am EST
Your site was extremely interesting, especially since I was searching for thoughts on this subject last Thursday.

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Comment by: Talking nonsense (United kingdom) Sun., Jan. 31, 2010 at 9:58 pm EST
When I told a guy I had just been diagnosed with HIV and he should get checked out. He asked me if I was diagnosed HIV+ or HIV- my response was "urgh I just said I've been diagnosed with HIV did you not hear me." He replied "yes so which one are you." So being confused I just answered the question and said "positive and why did you want to know if I was negative?" his response was " Well a negative result means you have the disease but it stays dorment in your body forever. Positive is the killer... I don't know if I'm going to get tested I probably haven't got it."
This was the worst converstaion I have ever had with another human being! Thankfully After education about HIV he went to get tested his results showed he has the dorment version of HIV. Lucky him!
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Comment by: It's not ALL in our heads... (USA) Wed., Jan. 27, 2010 at 11:44 pm EST
Not everyone who posts a "crazy" question is, in fact, crazy. I was a relatively sane person until my 4 year old son got scratched with a hair clippers in December. I searched the forum and found many of Dr. Bob's posts that basically say no way, not a risk at all. That's great, but even on this very site, Dr. McGovern advised someone who was nicked at a barber to use a condom for 3 months (including his honeymoon) and get tested for HIV. That was posted this less than a year ago. There is another doctor on here who suggests the risk is low but it is a risk. For those of us who KNOW how HIV is transmitted (unprotected sex, sharing needles, tainted blood transfusions (highly unlikely)) that doesn't mean we presume to know it all. When you come to a site like this and look something up and find different answers from different experts it can get very confusing and cause someone (like me) to get concerned. I even called the CDC and asked if you could get HIV from getting scratched by something that scratched someone who was HIV+. After reading their website (including the info that says no reports of anyone contracted the virus from an environmental surface have ever been reported) I decided to call just for peace of mind. I was told there IS a small risk of getting infected just by getting scratched on things like door handles, playground equipment, shopping carts, hair clippers, etc. My point is, some of us do try and educate ourselves and the result can be a confusing mess of contradictory information. For my own peace of mind, I am going to assume the virus is not transmitted by the tiny amount of blood that could theoretically remain on a small piece of metal or a hair clippers. However, the doubt will probably remain since even people with medical degrees can't agree on it! I guess what I am saying is it's not always fair to judge a book by it's cover. Some of us don't want to be paranoid. In fact, we just want to get educated...
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Comment by: Enrique (Mexico City) Mon., Jan. 25, 2010 at 12:47 am EST
I don't know if I must laugh or cry!! Is funny no doubt of that but is not fear that many people is geting infected every day just because misinformation. In the other hand is ironic that this situations are very fun but the people who lived them seems to be very worried. I just can think one of two: 1. this questions are jokes. or 2. Educational systems about HIV & STDs prevention are not working.
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Comment by: Under the Gun (Deep in the heart of the USA) Fri., Jan. 22, 2010 at 3:55 pm EST
LOL!! I'm laughing not only at the ridiculous questions asked in the article above, but also about the majority of the posts left by people who have also read this article. What is amazing is that most of you assume that these were all people from the USA that asked these questions. Talk about ignorance, come on. Seriously think about it. Take a look at the locations of those who have posted comments...Out of the 14 posts, 8 of you are not from the USA. That would lead me to believe that there is a wide range of people from outside of the US that look at and also post on this site, therefore, it would be very hard for me to believe that all of these 15 comments came from people located solely in the USA. Maybe they did, but personally I don't think it's right to point fingers at the USA and talk about how broken our educational system is when you have no proof other then to assume you know what your talking about. I'm sorry, but it's that way around the world. Not everyone obtains the same education, obviously. I for one don't know much about AIDS/HIV. To be quite honest it was somewhat talked about when I was in school, but then again to teach kids almost everything they would need to know about AIDS/HIV would be on going education even to this day. All I'm saying is this... This article was put together in my opinion to #1, give you a laugh, #2, point out some of the pure ignorance (or lack of common sense) that people AROUND THE WORLD have when it comes to AIDS/HIV knowledge. Instead of pointing fingers at other people (or other countries for that matter), everyone should do their part and help to educate themselves and at least 1 other person (your kids, grandkids, brothers, sisters, friends, neighbors...anyone who will listen). Let's make the world a better place by first arming ourselves with knowledge! Have a great day!
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Comment by: Chris (Colorado) Fri., Jan. 22, 2010 at 1:36 pm EST
Thomas (The Netherlands) where does this article say they were from the U.S.?
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Comment by: Thomas (The Netherlands) Sun., Jan. 17, 2010 at 1:26 pm EST
Incredible and annoying at the same time that so much people in the USA refuse to use the brains they've been given. Of course there's ignorance in Europe too, but the above beats it all.
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Comment by: Jacky (Johannesburg-South Africa) Fri., Jan. 15, 2010 at 2:19 pm EST
Like Merisha,I'm also concerned about public education programmes implemented in America.It really needs to be taken to another level to let people understand what being HIV positive means this days and when and how an individual can get exposed to getting infected with the VIRUS.Education is vital.
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Comment by: Michael I (London UK) Sun., Jan. 10, 2010 at 3:44 pm EST
Easy to laugh at some of these situations. But, a straight friend of mine who always played safe had a mental condition which meant he was obsessed that he might had accidentally contracted the virus.
Some of the people sound like he did.

NOT FUNNY..
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Comment by: Jude (Melbourne, Australia) Thu., Jan. 7, 2010 at 4:37 pm EST
I work on the PEP hotline and on occasion the worried "well" somehow find the number and call with these sorts of scenarios. I thought that I had heard it all but obviously Americans have far more imaginative minds than us Aussies - although there are a few stories that come to mind that may compete. Thanks for a great site.
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Comment by: angelray (NYC) Wed., Dec. 30, 2009 at 11:54 pm EST
There are many more morons out there than I thought.
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Comment by: hauswaldt (Germany) Mon., Dec. 28, 2009 at 5:15 am EST
I love the headlines of the postings!
Some are wagnerian alliterations, some kindle our cultural knowledge (do you know your filmtitles?), so my favorite is headline #11: "Maybe It's Time to Update My Resume ...".

PostChristmas greetings from Europe -)
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Comment by: Mark (Brisbane, Australia) Wed., Dec. 23, 2009 at 7:14 pm EST
If these people can find The Body to post questions, why don't they read the contents? Or, is the information too complicated and therefore not comprehended which in turn represents a failure to communicate by The Body? Confounded.
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Comment by: william gundry (los angeles) Wed., Dec. 23, 2009 at 5:40 pm EST
I think people who are obsessive to begin may end up bbasket cases worrying about the different medical opinions, gudelines for safe sex, levels of risk,avoidance procedures.Especially prone are the old timers who , before the epidemic were obsessive about their self image, and hypocondriac to boot. So the strange stories are not so strange after all
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Comment by: U. Brewer (Florida) Wed., Dec. 23, 2009 at 5:12 pm EST
I echo Mark's comment. Are any of the people submitting these questions then receiving answers and up to date information on HIV and AIDS? This is just sad. I agree that "strange" isn't the right word...how about pathetic, gross, ridiculous, and downright scary!
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Comment by: Mark Goldberg (New York, NY) Wed., Dec. 23, 2009 at 7:22 am EST
Are these actual comments or made-up nonsense? Is the readership of this site receiving any educational value on the subject of AIDS/HIV? Some of these might be funny if they weren't so disturbing to read.
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Comment by: HIV Educator (Kentucky) Tue., Dec. 22, 2009 at 1:45 pm EST
this is the direct result of 8+ years of abstinence only.
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Comment by: Pete (Sydney, Australia) Tue., Dec. 22, 2009 at 1:14 pm EST
I know from previous years that all of these questions are genuinely asked. This year it occurs to me that many of them indicate that there really is paranoia out there amongst some people about catching HIV. In a sense you could say this is good, that they have clearly been well-warned, and are therefore highly unlikely to contract HIV. On the other hand, their fears are neurotic: their fears are surely diminishing their quality of life!
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Comment by: Merisha (Cape Town, South Africa) Tue., Dec. 22, 2009 at 2:12 am EST
Some of these comments are not strange, but just downright stupid!! What are they teaching the kids in America and what campaigning is being done over there. It always shocks me with all the resources available that people still know so little about HIV. What some obsessors also need to know is that being HIV positive nowadays is NOT a death sentence, but a lifestyle change.
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Comment by: Long Term Survivor (The Boonies of Washington State) Mon., Dec. 21, 2009 at 8:29 pm EST
HIV + since 86, Saw a lot of friends die when I was living in PDX.
All this time and so many lost and their lives seems to have been wasted. How is it that we can choose to remain so ignorant? There was a time when I would say that I was proud to be an American, but I have to say that the fact that there is still a great need for " News at the Body" , is a great indictment against our educational system and our motivation to know serious and important facts about health and, well just about everything else. America your educational system is broken.
Thanks News at the Body, Best of holiday wishes.
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