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How can I possibly be negative?
Mar 14, 2004

Dear Dr Bob,please help me.After a stupid unprotected exposure in Thailand 2 and a half years ago i had the following symptoms.Flu like fever,dry cough,headache,genital warts and molluscum after 3 months,lasted for one month. Then about 10 months after exposure(very stressed by now)have tinea rash on both arms,flaky skin on hands,itchy skin,white tongue and white patches in mouth,rough teeth and muscle like spasms everywhere especially in legs and feet.Have eye floaters aswell.Got in a right state and got tested;negative eia after ten months,negative again at one year,i allso had another elisa and p24 antigen done negative one and a half years after exposure.Had eyes checked ok by three different opthalmologists they say eyes are fine,cbc all ok and hepA,B,C all negative.Surely doc with all these very specific symptoms all those tests are false negatives,doctors refuse to do any more tests and say stress i do not beleive them and am now feelig suicidal,please tell me what you think Dr Bob.Mike fom England.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Mike from England,

Mike, spend some time reading the archives for this forum. There, you will find lots of folks who also were totally convinced they had contracted HIV, despite negative tests. They report having "every symptom in the book" and then some. If you follow their stories, you'll see that they all (that's 100 percent Mike) eventually realized they really were negative after all. Mike, there are two very important lessons you must learn:

1. Not all exposures to HIV lead to HIV infection. In fact, the vast majority do not.

2. Symptoms, no matter what they are, do not equal HIV disease.

You have had repeated negative tests up to 1 years after your exposure. Multiple physicians have told you your symptoms are not related to HIV, but rather to stress. They have refused to do more HIV tests. Mike, I totally agree with them. Your biggest problem is that you are having difficultly accepting your HIV-negative status. For this, you need the help of a counselor or psychiatrist, particularly if you are feeling suicidal. Mike, counseling certainly couldn't hurt, so why not give it a try? What do you have to lose, other than your irrational fears and overwhelming anxiety? Mike, do it for me. See the psychiatrist. Bring a copy of this question and my response to your first visit and show it to your therapist. Mike, get the help you need, not more tests that you only think you need. We wouldn't want your doctor putting a restraining order on you.

Good luck, Mike. Feel better.

Dr. Bob



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