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Doctor's ARS concern sending me off deep end

Aug 17, 1998

Dear Dr. Holodniy, Three months ago I went to the doctor because I was feeling a bit run down and experiencing what I thought was the flu. My doctor asked me about my recent sexual activity, explaining that he wanted to consider the possibility of "acute seroconversion." I had not thought of this possibility. When I told him that I had engaged in unprotected oral sex (four weeks earlier) with a man of unknown HIV status, he suggested ELISA, p-24, and viral load (bDNA) tests. All came back negative, but I went into panic mode! I assumed that the doctor would not have suggetsed these tests unless there was a good chance I was infected. Since those initial tests, I had a negative Q HIV-1 DNA by PCR (ultrasensitive/25copies) at 10 weeks and 12 weeks and a negative ELISA at 15 weeks. I know that the doctor was doing his job, but I can't shake free from the fear that the "possibility" he mentioned is in fact reality. Is there any reason for me to continue to test, or should I save my money and spend it on some counseling to overcome a now irrational but real fear? I have deep respect and admiration for all of you at "The Body" for your selfless efforts!

Response from Dr. Holodniy

From the information you have provided, I don't think you need to pursue any other tests. It is extremely unlikely that you have HIV infection given a negative DNA PCR and negative antibody test at 12-15 weeks after a potential exposure. MH

Good Enough?

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