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Can we rely on the decision made by our Medical Officer?
Apr 22, 2002

Dear Dr, I was refused to be tested for HIV after performing a CBC and ESR test and both test appeared to be normal (CBC normal and ESR at 1). I took the test after a very risky experience, which happened 4 months ago. My fiance had the same test done and was too refused further testing as according to the medical officer that we have consulted that the ESR test result should have confirmed that both of us DO NOT have any chronic infection and this INCLUDES HIV! I am furious with this assumption that he has made but could do little as our entire town has only one medical center. Both me and my fiance have had ARS symptoms (burning tongue, lymphadenopathy, sore throat, persistent ulcers, diarrhea and mild nite sweat), mine happened 5 weeks after my exposure and hers happened after about 4 weeks (we had unprotected sex). I'm blaming myself for all this and am worried that I might have infected my fiance but right now I'm feeling helpless. We are thinking of travelling to our neighboring country for a test but would appreciate some form of advise from you before making this trip as it will cause some financial strain on us. Is it true that both of us can be assured by the ESR and CBC tests? WD and Helen.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello WD and Helen,

While CBCs and ESRs may be abnormal in HIV disease, it certainly does not rule it out! Your medical officer is wrong. HIV testing is often available at minimal cost from anonymous testing centers or the Red Cross. Perhaps you could mention to your medical officer that you have checked with HIV experts and they do not agree that a normal CBC and ESR completely rules out HIV infection after a high-risk exposure, and if he is refusing to run an HIV test, you would like him to put that in writing so that you can make a formal complaint to the Board of Medical Quality Assurance, as well as to your insurance company. You'll also want to have his written documentation in case you ever file a lawsuit. Chances are he'll change his mind and order the test.

Good luck! I'm keeping all fingers crossed that both you and your fiance are negative!

Dr. Bob


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