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Help me,Dr.Joe. Please
Apr 25, 2010

Hi,Dr.Joe. I`m in desperate need for your professional help.I believe I was highly exposed to HIV virus,having had sexual contacts with crew members who travel around the world(I know I`m a dumbass ). I`ve tested negative twice on HIV1/2 ELISA tests out to 7 months. But I`m concerned about those HIV rare strains because my partners were certainly exposed to them by traveling and hooking with folks from Nigeria,which is a west African country.I`m from Egypt.People in Egypt including me,do have excellent knowledge about HIV and STDs, they DON`T!! EVERYBODY HAS UNPROTECTED SEX!! I`m all worried I could have contracted that type of virus,and this worry is wrecking my life,I`ve lost interest in sex and marriage.And am very depressed. I wonder how were those HIV O and N cases detected if there aren`t tests for those strains in the first place? Did they test positive on ELISAs, or viral tests? I really want to put this behind me,but I know I wouldn`t until I`m properly tested !

Please help me Doc. I don`t know what to do really.

Thank you.

Response from Dr. McGowan

The question of diagnosing HIV type N or O continues to be a problem. The standard elisa tests can be unreliable...some may be reactive or low-level reactive and may revert to negative, especially on treatment. There is only one commercially available PCR test, the Abbott RealTime system, that can quantify HIV-1 group O RNA. This test could be used in a person who had symptoms of acute HIV infection after exposure to a person with non-type M HIV infection. Luckily Group O is only present in up to 2 to 5% of people with HIV even in Cameroon and neighboring countries (so it is very rare even there) and group N is even much more rare (in only a small number of people from Cameroon).

Best, Joe



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