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at least read this, i don't expect an answer

Aug 25, 2002

i saw a message someone wrote to you about his suspicion of a varient strain of HIV. well although i still show negative on the elisa after 7 months, i am having difficulty accepting this was not ars when it began a week and a half to 2 weeks after a high risk exposure (and months after which i became aware of my supposed infector having a host of symptoms themself). my symptoms have come and gone since then, not quite fully letting up - i feel this could be correlated to an incomplete seroconversion of some sort. my body is having difficulty producing the antibodies - i theroize. therefore i remain semi-symptomatic. just wanted to report yet another case of someone being absolutely positive that they have been infected despite what the tests are showing at this point in time. i will make sure not to have anymore risky exposures, and i guess if i find out that i really am positive later on down the line, and the other gentelman who wrote you with a similar concern finds out the same ... this would then be the beginning of a new stephen king novel. time will tell indeed. of course, i am hoping that i am actually out of my mind and its all in my head. the trouble is, that just doesn't seem likely based on what is physically happening to me and what seems to be linked directly to risky sex. if you could, of course i would like to hear any response from you about this - not because germ-chasers feed off of needless medical attention (i realize you may think that is what's going on)- but because this is a very difficult thing to deal with when no medical professional takes it seriously.

Response from Dr. Cohen

I think some of us do take it seriously. Certainly there are some scary "germs" out there - and I'd caution to avoid chasing any of them if the goal is to feel well for the next few decades of living...

It is nevertheless hard for medical clinicians to know how to respond if our tests don't show us something that is wrong despite you not feeling right. It is fair to say that our tests are always evolving - and it may be that in years we do find other viruses that these current tests don't see... and they account for the symptoms you have. No doubt this can happen - it certainly was the case when HIV was first found - before the test we didn't know what to do with the symptoms people came in with... and now we do. And that can certainly happen again. Although some times it is psychological... just not always.

So stay involved with a practitioner who is mindful of what you are dealing with - just realize that we don't know everything and if we can't find it, we may not be able to do much about it either except to keep looking and working with our lab colleagues to see if there is something else we are missing...

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