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I DON'T UNDERSTAND!!!
Feb 5, 2001

Dear Dr. I see answers to questions about the transmission of HIV via tootsie rolls, for crying out loud, yet I have asked a legitimate question (after being the victim of a sexual assault) several times and can't get a response. So I will try again. Here it is: Victim of sexual assault Negative Elisas at 6, 9 & 16 weeks, PCR RNA <400 at 18 weeks. Still experiencing variety of symptoms. Tested for syphillis, gonorhea, chlamydia, herpes, etc. 2 weeks - vaginal pain (intense) cleared up after 2 months with Crinone; comes back occasionally but doesn't last long and not as intense. 12 wks - rash (diagnosed as rosacea), burning pain in head (thought it was shingles, but there were no sores), burning tingling in legs (undetermined cause) Ongoing sore throat - diagnosed as acid reflux. Ongoing muscle aches and pains. CAN I TRUST THE RESULTS OF THESE TESTS OR SHOULD I CONTINUE TO SEEK TESTING EITHER VIA DNA PCR OR MORE ELISAS! PLEASE ANSWER ME. I AM AFRAID TO HAVE SEXUAL RELATIONS WITH MY HUSBAND FOR FEAR OF INFECTING HIM.

Response from Mr. Kull

I'm sorry that I haven't gotten to your question yet. Being the victim of a sexual assault is a very serious situation and I hope that you are getting the support that you need.

It terms of wanting to know if you have been infected, you need to decide whether YOU are comfortable with a negative antibody result at 16 weeks (which is about four months after exposure). I often cite sources that state a negative serology three months after exposure is sufficient evidence that one is uninfected. Rare cases take as long as six months to show positive results on an antibody test. The PCR RNA at 18 weeks doesn't have as great a significance as an antibody test 3-6 months after exposure.

Being sexually assaulted must be making you anxious, to say the least. When individuals are traumatized by assault, they can exhibit all sorts of physical and psychological symptoms. It is vital that you find a person or group that you can talk with about your experience. Identification with and support from others could be necessary for your recovery.

RMK



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