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HIV 2 a silent epidemic?
Apr 11, 2002

Dr. Bob- you are too funny but very honest- I wish you the best!

Well, I need some help-please I have had to go to a crisis center for contemplating suicide due to my recent stress. Depression, stress, guilt are a great team in kicking someones ass!

Approximately 4 years ago my girlfriend and I separated for a year. I had 3 partners- all of I insisted were tested with me and we aere all negative. When I was with my third partner I took an Orasure test and I had a POSITIVE Elisa and a NEGATIVE western Blot. The counselor didnt accurately explain what this meant and told me I may have just been infected. For 4 years from spring of 1998 to spring 2002 (feb)I have researched and called and have gotten mixed answers as to why false positives occur.

4 years later and much anxiety and fear later I decided to finally take a blood test- I was SO TIRED OF LIVING THE WAY I DID. My test in Feb of 2002 the Elisa didn't react-so medcially I am considered "HIV NEGATIVE". I was finally able to go to a doctor and have a cbc done- came back in normal parameters but UNFORTUNATELY as I am removing all of my HIV bookmarks I read about HIV 2. I have never had direct contact with a Western African but I dont know the risk of my past partners. I am tired! truly tired- I am now seeking mental counseling for this issue. I have had protected sex with my now wife and we want to have a baby. I have been so paranoid for the past 4 years that I hide my toohbrush, shaver, nail clippers etc. I am terrified to attempt to have a baby if I could potentially have HIV 2. a few questions:

1) Why do false positives occur? 2) Would my HIV 1 test have detected HIV 2 after 4 years? 3) Would my CBC have shown any signs of HIV infection after 4 years? 4) If I had HIV 2 which is undetectable on an HIV 1 antibody test would this also hold true for the people I may have infected or the person who infected me- would they also be testing negative on HIV 1? 5) Is it safe for my wife and I to have a baby? 6) What are the current statistics for HIV 2 in the US?

I was very happy to be negative at first but now it is difficult for me to accept because I know of HIV 2. If you could please provide some insight I would greatly appreciate it- I am so tired of the stress- I am presently taking antidepressants Paxil. Thank You

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

1. False positive tests occur for a variety of reasons, which are beyond the scope of this forum. It's boring technical stuff. The important thing is that they are false. That shows up when we do the more sophisticated confirmatory tests (in this case, a Western Blot). 2. I'm not sure what test kit you used, but most kits now check for both HIV-1 and HIV-2. You can call your lab where the test was run to check this out. 3. A CBC cannot detect HIV. 4. Safe to have a baby? Sure. Your HIV tests are negative 4 years after exposure. 5. For current statistics on HIV-2, I suggest you search the CDC or other epidemiology web sites. I don't have those figures on the tip of my tongue (or fingers).

Psychological stress is now your biggest problem. Counseling may help. Stop hiding the toothbrush, shaver, and nail clippers. Get busy making that baby and feel better. OK? Good luck.

Dr. Bob


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