|Sorry Dr. Could only donate $100 this month
May 28, 2004
I wanted to thank you for your help and more so because you are a wonderful person helping all sorts of worried wells out there.
I am not the richest person in the world but figured that I could do without some extras this month, but will try to make it a point to donate as much as I can monthly to help the good people that you help.
I was the man that had protected sex using a polyurethane condom with a very questionable partner. I had 4 Elisa's, 1 Western Blot because of a false positive within 7 months of the incident. I also had unprotected sex with a good friend that ensured me that she was HIV negative but didn't know when her last test was (gee made me feel real good). My last test was a 3rd generation HIV 1/Hiv 2 ELISA 5 months from that encounter.
You ensured me that I was HIV negative and your help seemingly calmed me some. I think the major problem here is that so many of us simply don't trust or believe the tests to be accurate. I know it is amazing. Hundreds of millions of dollars are poured into researching HIV, HIV testing, treatment, etc... Yet we still have doubts, especially when you hear the stories of people that are not detected for 9+ months. Everytime our stomachs get a little uncomfortable we think we need another test yet the 6 month, you advocate 3 months and so do many others, proved we are fine.
At any rate, how often do people test negative at 3 months, 6 months, and then actually come back positive after being tested with 3rd generation ELISA tests? Does this even happen?
Thanks again Dr. Bob. You are a great man and I will try to donate more as soon as I can.
| Response from Dr. Frascino
Hey there Marko-man,
First off, $100 effectively used can save up to 125 lives by providing HIV-positive pregnant women with antiretroviral medication to decrease the risk they will pass the virus on to their unborn children. Now that's something to celebrate. On behalf of those unborn kids, please accept my heartfelt thanks.
HIV fear is often way, way, way out of proportion to actual HIV risk, particularly in individuals focused on extremely rare case scenarios. We've been closely monitoring the virus now for over two decades. However, the irrational fears that permeated our society back in the 80s, before we even knew it was a virus, or how the then unidentified germ was spread, have persisted. In large part, this is due to the stigma associated with having this disease. I hope that ongoing HIV/AIDS awareness and education programs (as well as a regime change in Washington) will change the perceptions associated with being "virally enhanced."
As for your question about 3rd generation tests and delayed seroconversion or false-negative results, these are all extremely, extremely rare situations, if they occur at all. For instance, there are scattered reports of someone testing negative at three or six months and then testing positive at nine or twelve months. Is this delayed seroconversion or a false-negative test? Well, maybe it's neither, because we have no way of actually knowing if that person may have had risky sex in the interim. Certainly the improvements in test sensitivity and specificity should be looked at in a positive light, not one that throws doubt on past results, which were (and remain) definitively conclusive.
I hope that answers your question. Once again, Mike, many thanks and stay well.
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