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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I have been happily and faithfully married to my husband for 14 years. The problem is with our family doctor. Recently, my husband thought he had a bladder infection, so he went to our doctor, who ran one urine test that turned out negative. Then the doctor informed my husband that he had a sexually transmitted disease!

My husband asked if it was possible to have had this "sexually transmitted disease" for 14 years -- or was there some other way of getting it? Also, wouldn't it be wise to run another test just to make sure?

The doctor insisted that his diagnosis was correct, then with a smirk he added, "I'm not suggesting that you run home and beat your wife, but you obviously got it from her."

Abby, no wife could be more faithful than I. I never even looked at another man in more than 14 years. My husband says he believes me, yet he's been having bad dreams ever since. I know I'd be accused of "protesting too much" if I confronted the doctor. This is a small town, and it could make matters even worse. Besides, I hear that this doctor thinks all non-churchgoers (like my husband and myself) are pretty much "scum" anyway. What can I do? I'm not taking this lightly. -- BRISTLING IN ARIZONA

DEAR BRISTLING: First, change doctors -- even if it means getting your checkups in a nearby town.

According to Dr. Willard Cates Jr., director of the Sexually Transmitted Disease Division of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta: "No diagnostic test is 100 percent accurate. Your husband should be retested to confirm the original test result." (Some sexually transmitted diseases can lie dormant for long periods of time; also you failed to mention which one your husband allegedly has.)

The doctor who accused you unjustly is guilty of unprofessional behavior. He was also in error in refusing to perform more definitive tests. Report him to your county medical society.

DEAR ABBY: This letter is in response to the letter from "Illinois Victim," the girl who -- while being beaten by her boyfriend at a trailer park -- yelled loudly for help from her neighbors, to no avail.

A young man also living in a trailer park in Illinois heard a muffled cry for help. He went outside and saw a man on top of a woman with his hands around her neck. He yelled, and the assailant tried to escape on a bicycle. But the young man chased him for almost a mile over gravel terrain in his bare feet. The man who was caught was wanted by the police for previous rapes.

When the police asked the young man who caught the alleged rapist what his motivation was, he replied (with bruised and bloodied feet), "What if that girl had been my sister? I would hope someone else would do the same thing!"

So, have faith, Abby. Good people are still out there. He even returned to Illinois after moving to California to appear in court for the prosecution, and was awarded four plaques for heroism. His name is Tyler Smith. -- HIS PROUD SISTER, JENNIFER, IN ALBANY, N.Y.

Everything you'll need to know about planning a wedding can be found in Abby's booklet, "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." To order, send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054. (Postage is included.)

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