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Am I a Worried Well or HIV +???
Apr 3, 2003

Dr. Bob,

I fully admit that I'm prone to stressing out! But my symptoms, from what I've read, are somewhat worrisome to me, even though I've tested negative at 14.5 weeks! If you could please, please answer my question, I'd be greatful!

Here it goes:

MY RISK: One time unprotected vaginal intercourse with a girl who's HIV status was unknown to me. This occurred roughly 4 months prior to this post.

SYMPTOMS: 1.mild dizziness that started about 4 days after my exposure. Still continues.

2.increased appetite that started about a week after exposure with no significant weight gain. Still continues.

3.severe insomnia that started about a week after exposure, I slept an average of two to three hours a night for about 3.5 months. I usually sleep 6-7 hours per night. Not as bad, but still continues somewhat.

3.dry mouth that started about 2 months after exposure and subsided 2-3 weeks later

4.night sweats (would wake up with legs sweating, rapid heart beat, feeling hot) started two months after exposure, subsided about a month later. This did not happen every night, but would happen often.

5. excessive sweating during the day time (armpits, crotch, and feet). This started about 6 weeks post-exposure, and subsided about 10-11 weeks post-exposure.

6. some fatigue (but I'm guessing that this is more related to my not sleeping).

7. Severe anxiety/stress!

TESTING: 2 Home Access Tests non-reactive ELISA before 3 month window. 2 non-reactive Home Access ELISA after 3 month window (12 weeks and 14.5 weeks).

Questions:

1. Are the symptoms I described above due to anxiety or HIV????? I've seen the them listed as symtpoms of both?????

2. What are my chances of testing positive after four negative tests, including my negative test at 14.5 weeks????

3. It's now 4 months past exposure, do I need to test again??????? The local health Dept. says I don't BUT the CDC says I do. Who's right?????

4. What is the address to your charity? Uncle Sam is giving me back some of my hard earned money this year, and I want to contribute to a worthwhile HIV/AIDS charity.

Thank you so much for your time....You're an angel to all of us "Worried-Wells" going through this.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello "Prone to Stressing Out,"

Here are your answers:

1. Anxiety, definitely, undoubtedly anxiety 2. Zip, zero, zilch, nada 3. Nope. I agree with the health department. The CDC recommendation is for "significant exposure," which would mean receptive intercourse with someone known to be HIV-positive. 4. The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation 779 Altos Oaks Drive, Suite 200 Los Altos, CA 94024

Your symptoms are absolutely classic for anxiety and stress. Certainly worrying about HIV after a potential exposure is an extremely anxiety-producing experience. Your actual risk, if your partner were HIV-positive, would be 0.1 0.2 %. The fact that youve had multiple negative ELISA tests beyond 3 months is absolutely conclusive that you are indeed HIV-negative. Congratulations. Now yell WOO-HOO and relax, OK?

Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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