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The Return of Help (part III)
Jun 27, 2002

Dear Dr. B,

Its JJ again. This message/question will close my contributions (but not reading) of this forum. I really apprecaite your responses (the other forums have shunned me-funny- many of the others have non-sequitors and answer them-others choose not to update for months). I'll be graduating this month, and will be too busy to check this site for a awhile, and furthermore, I do not want to monopolize your time...

Dr. B, let me say that when I was tested for STDs back in 98' I am almost certain they did an ELISA. Why? Becuase at the time I lived in NH, and some internet research found it standard to do screenings, even without consent (they did say 'we test for everything'). YOu would know better than me on this one, Dr. ITs just, the sound of that technicians voice when I called for the results echo in my heart (you should come in and get tsted for HIV, like tommorow) they wanted a Western blot to confirm the results, Im sure. Why would they hide it? Well likely protocol, some sheet saying 'tell patient ot come in for furhter test, counseling'. Sigh

NOW, let me tell you some personal info. I have a brother, a scientist as well (PhD but stillnot a real Dr :), but he is Much smarter than me (I got ma's looks, he got the brains). Anyway, he is gay and HIV + . He contracted the virus in 97' and only tested when he had a cold that wouldnt go away in 01'. As a student of biology, he did well and was hired at NIH right out of college. He is th epride and joy of our family and does not reveal his sexuality or HIV status to anyone but me, becuase people are still prejudice, ill informed and downright stupid when it comes to both areas. ANYway, we have talked at length about my dillema. He's not one of those knee jerk 'just get tested' people, becuase he knows my financially bereft situation, rent is tough to pay,loans are cumbersome and 550/month for Sustiva... forget about it!.

So he told me, and I concured, that by now, I should have some symptoms. THere really aren't many slow or non progressives out there, and the virus decimates the immune system at a rate most people show symptoms. BUT then again, though I have not shown any Overt symptoms, that area of my armpit is worrisome. Is it a tendon? COuld be, since I work out so much. The swelling is located near the back of my underarm area, near my trapezoid. Lymph nodes are hard to examine without the practical exepereince of a Dr. Those diagrams do me no good... but somethings fishy as the swelling is NOt proportionate.My bro has told me anything nasty like HIV should, generally speaking, be accompanied by systemic symptoms (night sweats, fatigue, loss of weight). Is he on target Dr.,?

Well, off I go (wearing no underwear :) hey its more comfortable anyway) into the real world, armed with an MS in microbiology and the conviction I am infected with one of the most dangerous illnesses on record. But as my brother says, we all have bacteria and viruses in our body. If its not EBV its Helobacterium. Keeping them inactive is the trick, right? He, btw, has pushed his VL into undectable land through HAART and is schedualed to participate in clinical trials of Prostratin (Jefferson Med. Center). ALsO, th e last person who mentioned TRAIL is off base. Its a ligand used for cancer, NOT HIV and has shown NO efficacy in eradication.

But do not fear! we have the tencious foe HIV mapped out, we're like generals gazing at a detailed map readying their strategy for victory. But theres no other way to win the war but in battles. Thanks for all your help and support. All the best to you

Ever,

JJ

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hey JJ,

I'm not sure about NH's laws in 1998, but I strongly doubt they were hiding anything. Don't read too much into the comments of an overworked technician. For all you know, some clumsy oaf could have dropped your blood specimen so they couldn't run the usual required tests.

And stop worrying about the area under your arm. Yes, it could be a tendon or a ligament or some other completely normal structure. If you keep pushing on it, it will get sore. So leave it alone!

Sorry to hear that your brother is HIV-positive, but I'm glad he's doing well with a nondetectable viral load. He sounds like a smart guy and I think his advice to you is correct. So handsome guy (with Ma's looks), listen to that wise brother of yours. Get tested if you've been at significant risk. Your symptoms are not worrisome for HIV!

The TRAIL story is evolving slowly. I'll try to give a brief update on it when I return from the World AIDS Conference in Barcelona.

JJ, you are well, except for excessive worrying. So focus on dealing with your irrational fears and not non-existent HIV.

And since you continue not to wear underwear, do be careful when you zip up your jeans!

Dr. Bob


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