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Newly Diagnosed
May 11, 2005

Dear Dr. Bob:

I was told recently that I was HIV+. I took a test where the result came back within 20 minutes. My problem is that after I was told of the results, later that day I started to feel strange. But prior to the test I felt fine. I actually felt the results were going to be favorable because I had no symptoms. Now I have been feeling a little fatigue which I wasn't before. The test I was given was a "finger-prick" test. After the results came back the nurse took some more blood to be shipped to California. Why would I start feeling things now after having the test? Also, how can I tell my lover of my results? How can I be certain that he didn't have it even if he got test in January? Please help.

Thank you,

Newly Scared

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Newly Scared,

First off, all rapid HIV screening tests that indicate a positive result need to be confirmed by a standard blood test. That's most likely what's being "shipped to California" in your case. Consequently, at this point we still do not know if you are truly HIV positive or not. Regarding symptoms or lack thereof, this would have very little predictive value in discerning HIV positives from HIV negatives.

As for "feeling things" after your test, this is most likely a psychological response to being told you were HIV positive.

Disclosing your status, if indeed you are confirmed to be HIV positive, won't be easy. However, I would certainly encourage you to confide in your lover, close friends and family. Having a strong support system will help you adjust to the reality of being HIV positive, if in fact this turns out to be the case. But first things first. Let's hope the rapid test was a "false positive" and that this nightmare is short lived. It should also be a reminder to all those reading this forum that no one is immune to HIV. Safer sexual practices are definitely worth the effort!

Good luck. I'm here if you need me.

Dr. Bob

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