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You answered a question for me 8 months ago but symptoms still persist!
May 18, 2003

Dear Dr. Frascino,

I was a homecare worker who had anemia. At the time I wrote you back in August 2002 I had tested negative at six months post possible exposure. I had a patient who was HIV+. She also had diabetes and used to leave insulin syringes and lancets lying around uncapped. I used to stumble across them while cleaning. You said that if I was accidentally stuck I would have felt it. You also said that a six months test was conclusive and that I was confirmed negative. Since then I tested again at 36 weeks(9 months)that was negative. I tested negative for HepC. I'm immune to B. I was too scared to test for HIV in January 2003 which would have made it a year. The symptoms that I keep having make me think something is wrong. My doctor does not seem to take me serious my CBC's are normal except for there was a drop in Lymphocytes from 26 to 18 then a rise to 21 and a rise to 29. My symptoms are a red band around the neck of a few teeth that comes and goes. I used to have a red spot on my tongue that looked like a bald patch that has since disappeared, Seborrheic Dermatitis, severe whole body itching at night, nail fungus with separation from the nail bed, and chronic vaginal yeast infections, I also get upset stomach regularly. I tested for Diabetes and I don't have it. My hubby tested neg for HIV. We have been using condoms ever since. I'm due for a pap smear but i'm too scared to go. My doctor only prescribed for me iron for the anemia and hydrocortisone for the facial Seborrheic Dermatits. Help me i'm going crazy!! Thanks for any help you can give!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Anemic Homecare Worker,

You seem to have read and understood my reply. Your 6-month test was indeed definitive. So now your totally unnecessary 9-month test is also negative and youre afraid to get a 12-month test? Why is that? Are you afraid that this one will be negative as well? It will be, you know!

Your doctor is not taking your symptoms seriously, because your symptoms are not indicative of anything serious! Certainly not HIV! It sounds like the iron has corrected your anemia, and I assume the hydrocortisone is helping the seborrhea. What could be wrong? Can you guess? Reread your question: HIV test repeated negative; doctors who do not feel your symptoms or lab test abnormalities are serious (I agree!); yet, you are "too scared" . . . you "think something is wrong" . . . . you are "too scared to go for your pap smear" . . . you are "going crazy." There is not doubt in my mind that you have a significant psychological problem due to an irrational fear of being HIV-infected. You need to ask your doctor for a referral to a therapist. Please show this e-mail to the therapist when you have your first visit.

There is no need to "go crazy" when all you need to do is go to a therapist. You can also show this post to your general doctor, if additional evidence is needed to support a referral for counseling.

Good luck. You will get better. HIV is not your problem.

Dr. Bob



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