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Fatigue and AnemiaFatigue and Anemia
           
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Dr. Bob, you are my only hope...
Jun 25, 2002

Dear Dr. Bob, I will begin by apologizing for asking a question not related to fatigue in HIV+ individuals (the other forum did not sepond). Second, I would like to tell you (as if you haven't been told a thousand times already) that of all the doctors and staff writing for this site, you are by far the most compassionate, understanding, optimistic and humorous doctor I have encountered. Finally, I have a question for you. I hope you will take the time to answer this, as I am losing sleep and making myself sick because of my anxiety. I believe I may have had a possible exposure in April of 2001. I had some muscle and joint pains, and my doctor performed a CBC w/differential and an ELISA for Lyme in July of 2001. Was informed that my CBC was "very, very good" and my Lyme ELISA was negative. I went to a rheumatologist in December of 2001. He repeated the same exact tests, with the same exact results. My pains have since gone away, with the exception of pain in my feet (which I was told was due to heel spurs). I am fixated on the idea of having contracted HIV back in April of 2001, so I called an HIV hotline. They told me that I do have some risk (possibly by pre-semen, vaginally, about 10 different times), but when I informed them that I had a negative ELISA for Lyme on 2 seperate occasions, they told me that a Lyme ELISA would have shown some abnormalities that would have prompted HIV testing. I do not trust this person even a fraction of the amount that I trust you, and I will do as you inform me to do. She said I do not need seperate HIV testing, as the 2 tests are so similar. Is she correct? Are LYME and HIV ELISA the same thing? I stress myself out with worry, and my anxiety has affected every aspect of my life. Please Dr. Bob, be so kind as to relinquish my doubts! I will be eternally grateful to you and the service that you provide!!!!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Thanks for your kind comments. Are you sure this was an HIV Hotline you called? Because they aren't even lukewarm, let alone hot. The information they gave you is completely wrong. ELISA stands for Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay. It's a type of test. Each ELISA is specific for a specific disease. So an HIV ELISA detects HIV and a Lyme ELISA detects Lyme disease. Not only are they not the same, there is absolutely no correlation between the two whatsoever! So what to do? I don't know what exactly your risk was from your note - perhaps unprotected vaginal intercourse without ejaculation 10 times? If you have been at risk and are worried, go ahead and get the HIV test. Your symptoms are not really suggestive of HIV. Most likely, your test will be negative. You might want to call that HIV "misinformation" line and suggest a remedial course in HIV basics.

Good luck. I think you'll be fine.

Stay well.

Dr. Bob


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