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PLEASE ANSWER MY QUESTION ! ! I KEEP GETTING DIFFERENT ANSWERS ..
Feb 28, 2004

I have posted my question 6 different times to 6 different doctors on this site and haven't received a response yet. Hopefully, SOMEONE OUT THERE WILL ANSWER MY QUESTION ONCE AND FOR ALL ! ! My concerns are regarding the accuracy of my HIV antibody test results 6 months after exposure. Although my test was negative, I have continued to be obsessed with this disease and think about it every day for the past month or so. It is really starting to affect every aspect of my life, from work and school to personal relationships. I have made bad decisions in the past, and now feel that it's all coming back to haunt me.

Over the past few weeks I have collected a vast file of information and statistics regarding HIV and the possibilities of false testing and they all seem to contradict themselves. I have also talked to counselors from the health center where I got tested and also the CDC Hotline for HIV, but have received answers varying from "Your results are conclusive and you are negative" to "Your test results may have been affected by other medical conditions and you should really ask your medical doctor if you feel there is a cause for concern."

The thing is that I have an autoimmune disorder called psoriasis, and some people think that this is just a simple skin problem or rash, but if you take the time to look it up online, it is actually caused by an abnormality of the immune system that results in unusual activity by the T Cells. I'm not exactly sure of the mechanics of the disease, all I know is that the same cells involved in HIV antibody production are involved in the process of psoriasis, so I am trying to figure out if there is any connection between having this autoimmune disorder, and testing falsely negative on an HIV antibody test. If someone who has a better grasp of medical terms could look up some info on psoriasis and tell me if this would affect my test results, it would be greatly appreciated. I don't have medical insurance right now, so I have no way of actually getting physically assessed by a doctor or specialist of my specific condition.

Also, I am really getting tired of having this anxiety that affects my daily life and was wondering how I could get treatment for it. I tried to get help from the facility where I got tested, but they seem to be really busy since they are the only clinic on the island (I live on Oahu, in Hawaii) that does free HIV testing to my knowledge. The best I can get is information over the phone from an unsympathetic HIV counselor who doesn't even understand my concerns because he doesn't have any knowledge of my condition (psoriasis).

Also, I have been feeling extremely fatigued lately. I get at least 8 hours of sleep every night, but I still feel like I have little to no energy and have to take naps throughout the day just to get by. I have never felt so tired in my life, and I am wondering if this is due to the stress that this anxiety has put on me. I'm only 19 years old ! !

I have no other physical ailments, besides 2 swollen lymph nodes in my neck right on the sides of my trachea that I think are the results of a minor cold that I had about 2 weeks ago and also a cold sore (herpes simplex 1)outbreak following that, but my anxiety makes me worry about this also. The nodes are pretty small, like a lima bean, and they don't seem hard or fixed in place, and they're not painful. They're just little balls that I can feel if I palpate under the skin of my neck.

Everything that I've read about swollen lymph nodes says that they may take "several weeks" to dissapear, but I am wondering why they are not gone yet, since the cold I had only lasted about 3 days and my cold sores went away after about a week of antiviral medication. Sorry for all the info in this post, I just really have a lot of questions regarding my specific case, and I think some of them are quite reasonable, considering the extensive amount of research I've done over the past month. Can anyone answer any of these for me ????

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Dude, you're 19, you live in Hawaii, and you've got negative HIV tests at six months. Time to chill out, OK?

You may not be "exactly sure of the mechanics" of psoriasis, autoimmunity, and T-cells, but I am! Once and for all No, psoriasis will not affect HIV test results. OK?

Your biggest problem at the moment is your anxiety and being "obsessed with this disease." Your fatigue is most likely related to your anxiety and stress. HIV is not your problem. I agree you should get treatment for anxiety. Perhaps your parents can help with the medical bills, if you cannot find free services. One thing is for certain: Your current activities, such as collecting vast files of information and statistics regarding HIV, false testing, hounding hotlines, and perseverating on potential symptoms, are not helpful! In fact, it's like sprinkling "Miracle Grow" on your anxiety. Rather than worry, borrow a surfboard and catch a wave, or perhaps put on a grass skirt and learn to hula. Almost anything would be better than your current behavior. OK?

Feel better.

Dr. Bob



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