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where get Mac blood test?
Aug 2, 1999

I asked about getting checked and treated for Mac a couple of weeks ago without response, since no other responses presume you may be on vacation. I have now had a severe sore throat and ear problems for 3 1/2 weeks, Last fall I was sick with same type of sore throat/ear infection type probless and previously I have had this several times before. Once after my friend coughed as usual on me right after a bronshotamy, then I was sick for two months. I do not have AIDS. I have read through your other answers and it is possible that my prior years of Chronic Bronchitis have made me susceptible to this. It is very clear and obvious that I get this after I am around my long time survivor friend who has MAC and does not cover his mouth when he coughs. He is currently being treated for MAC after it was determined (after 5 weeks of medicine) that once again this is MAC, not TB. How can I get this diagnosed, and treated. I do not have health insurance, but even with that how do I get the blood test for MAC. My family doctor does not think I could get MAC because "it isn't contagious". I have now seen him for years on this, told him my suspicions about MAC for over two years and he just won't even consider it. Oh yeah and by the way I am female. I do value my friendship with my male, long term survivor friend. I would in fact rather take medicine than to discontinue my contact with him. Won't you please help me? I am in LA county. Thank you.

Response from Dr. Currier

Sorry for the delay in answering your question. People with HIV usually do not get sick from MAC unless they have T cells below 50. It is possible to be exposed to it from multiple sources, but usually the body can fight is off. This is why it is said that it is not contaigous. The typical symptoms of MAC infection include high fevers, night sweats, weight loss and sometimes diarrhea and a low red blood count. Sometimes MAC can cause large tender lymph nodes. Testing for MAC includes a blood culture, but if you T cells are over 50 it would be very unlikely to be positive. This test is available at any of the HIV Clinics in your area. I hope this helps, and don't feel you need to limit your contact with your friend.

-JC


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