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HIV 2 in United States-
Apr 2, 2002

I need some help-please I have had to go to a crisis center for contemplating suicide due to my stress. Approximately 4 years ago my girlfriend and I separated for a year. Within that year I had 3 other female partners. One was Dominican American female (early fall of 1997) -1 episode of unprotected sex, African American female (March 1998)- started to have sex but put condom on 3 minutes into it and finally a Phillipina American (May 1998)- we were both tested and were negative. When I was with my third partner the phillipina it was 6 weeks after my last partner and I took an Orasure test and I had a positive Elisa and a negative western Blot. The counselor didnt accurately explain what this meant and told me I may have just been infected. I called my last partner and she sent me her hiv result which were HIV negative a month prior to me being with her.

I realized soon after that I had been infected with genital herpes- had some outbreaks and my partner at the time became very sick- flu like symptoms, headache, nausea for a week or two. I freaked out because I thought I was hiv infected and infected my last partner.

4 years later and much anxiety and fear later I decided to finally take a blood test. The Elisa didn't react. I was finally able to go to a doctor and have a cbc done- came back in normal parameters but now I read about HIV 2. I have never had direct contact with a Western African but I dont know the risk of my past partners. I am tired! truly tired- I am now seeking mental counseling for this issue. I have had protected sex with my now wife and we want to have a baby. I am terrified to do so if I could potentially have HIV 2. a few questions:

1) Why do false positives occur? 2) Would my HIV 1 test have detected HIV 2 after 4 years? 3) Would my CBC have shown any signs of HIV infection after 4 years? 4) If I had HIV 2 which is undetectable on an HIV 1 antibody test would this also hold true for the people I may have infected or the person who infected me- would they also be testing negative on HIV 1? 5) Is it safe for my wife and I to have a baby- I dont want to infecdt her if I have HIV 2? 6) What are the current statistics for HIV 2 in the US?

I was very happy to be negative at first but now it is difficult for me to accept because I know of HIV 2. If you could please provide some insight I would greatly appreciate it- I am so tired of the stress- I am presently taking antidepressants Paxil. Thank You

Response from Mr. Kull

1) It is not clear why some people have false positives on the ELISA. Certain characteristics in a person's blood sample could yield a false positive result even though the person may not be HIV infected.

2) HIV-1 antibody tests can detect HIV-2 infection about 70% of the time. If you are at risk for HIV-2 infection (exposures to those infected with HIV-2 or to those who had exposures in HIV-2 endemic regions, like western Africa), you should have an HIV-2 antibody test. Many labs test for both HIV-1 and 2 in the U.S.

3) CBC results are not a reliable way to determine infection. Your negative antibody test at four years is a sure sign that you are not infected.

4) Can't predict. It is unlikely that you are infected with HIV-2.

5) I do not know latest national statistics, but as of May, 2000, there were 124 confirmed cases in New York State. That is a small percentage of HIV infections in the state and probably represents a higher rate than many other U.S. states.

RMK



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