Dear Dr. Bob:
Thank you so much for all the hard work you do with this site. It is very helpful.
Now I need your help.
I did frottage with an erotic massage parlour girl across her butt crack. At one point my penis went lower than it should have and she jumped and said for me to be careful. I don't think I penetrated, there was no significant change in feeling; though I'm quite sure I touched the outside of her anus or vagina with the head of my penis.
Here are my questions:
Is frottage still no risk even with vaginal fluids? I'm quite confident I did not penetrate her, as I asked her if I did and she said no. Actually, laughed and said no; and I figure if I wouldn't know, she most definitely would. She only said I got too close to her anus for comfort.
She also said she gets an HIV test every year as part of her requirements to renew her massage license (it's a bylaw here in Toronto [where I live], and I also believe it's in California). But let's say she was recently infected with HIV, would that put frottage at a risk or not?
What is frottage a risk of?
The big one that truly worries me: Two weeks after the exposure I developed a cough (not dry like with the flu, but mucus-producing), runny nose (insane amounts of blowing my nose), scratchy throat, sneezing, teary eyes, and, the worst of the lot, a slight fever no more than 100.6 F (though the fever usually happens at night before I go to bed, when I'm exhausted). I'm pretty confident that this is just a common cold since it has a all the right symptoms for a common cold, symptoms that are just between your neck and head. There's also slight lymph node enlargement around my neck; my brother, who is a med student, looked into the lymph nodes, but I haven't told him about my exposure because it's a bit scary. I also have upper back aches but this is without doubt due to sitting in a computer chair all day in school as I'm usually there from 9:30am to 9:30pm. I also hadn't slept two days prior to when the cold started, my stress levels were high thanks to this exposure (despite myriads of reassurance and now only faced with these symptoms and "what-if" worries), and I wore a flimsy jacket in Toronto winter weather (which is harsh this time of year). My brother said before I even got the cold that I would probably catch something because of how poorly I'm treated my body those past two days. His girlfriend also had a slight cold and, becuase I sat with her for an hour in a car, it's quite possible I caught her cold; but our symptoms differ widely in severity, mine were worse (is this possible with the same cold virus? I also hadn't slept properly [shit, I haven't slept right in weeks!] and I know this can prolong the healing process) Now the main question: Are my symptoms a sign of ARS? the only reason I am super scared about these symptoms is because they started within the range that ARS symptoms begin. It was just my luck: I wished they'd started earlier or later.
Dr. Bob, I value your insight in this and apologize for the very long question (just figured I'd try to paint as best a picture as I could [my brother always tells me to make sure I tell my doctor EVERY little detail]). Do I have anything to worry about? I really need to get on with my life and focus on school readings and assignments, which have already piled up after one week (master's student in urban planning; our cities need retrofitting!). Should I be tested? I still have to wait nine more weeks till I reach the 12 week mark. God, it is hell. I can't imagine what it must feel like for people who have HIGH risk. My heart and prayers go out to all of them.
Thank you so much for your time and reply. You can count on me giving a $100 donation.
All the best to you.
Frottage is not considered to be a risk for HIV transmission. Contact with infected cervical/vaginal fluids, however, does carry some degree of risk.
Some STDs can be transmitted by skin-to-skin contact -- HPV/genital warts, scabies, crabs, herpes, etc. Skin-to-skin frottage would carry a risk for such STDs.
Symptoms are notoriously unreliable in predicting who is and is not HIV infected. I would agree with your assumption that your symptoms are most likely due to a common respiratory tract infection, not HIV.
Your worries are unwarranted; however, if my reassurance is not sufficient for you to put these fears permanently to rest, get a single HIV-antibody test at the three-month mark. The results will undoubtedly be negative.
Thank you for your support of The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org). It's very warmly appreciated. In return I'm sending you my good-luck karma that you are now and will forever be HIV free.
Good luck. Be well.