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Worried sick? or worried well?
Mar 28, 2002

Dear Dr. Bob: Can you define worried-well? Most self-described worried-wells in your forum appear to develop symptons that mimic ARS, or so they think anyway. My problem is that I don't or have not. Ever since my high risk exposure 2.5 months ago (unprotected vaginal sex with a woman sex worker of unknown status), I have been plenty worried but I have done everything in my power to stay healthy and convince myself that I do not have ARS (is this worry sick?). So far I have succeded but believe me, I am still worried. The proof is that I have had ELISAS at 1.5, 3.5 and 6 weeks, and a qualitative PCR at 3.5 weeks, all negative. I am now worried about the big 3-month ELISA test I plan to have, counting down the days. So what am I? worried sick? and by the way, the 3-month test should be conclusive, right? Thank you, you are best. But then, you already know that...

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Worried well? Worried sick? Worry - worry - worry - Don't "worry" about the terminology. Let's just hope you remain well, well, well. Opinions vary about the length of time you need to be tested. Certainly a negative ELISA at 3 months plus your other tests, including a negative PCR at 3.5 weeks, would lead me to believe you are negative. Some experts and organizations would recommend one additional test at 6 months for significant exposures. Do I think you need it? No. Remember, even if the sex worker was HIV-positive, not all (not even most) exposures result in infection.

I think you are almost out of the woods. Just remember, no going back into the woods without wearing your rubbers!

Good luck.

Dr. Bob


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