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Testing...PEP...Timing
Jun 7, 2004

Dr. Bob -

I took a three drug combination for PEP (with a PI) after a high risk exposure. My doctor asked me to come in three weeks after the PEP concluded when I complained of fatigue, headache, and dry mouth. HE ran a DNA-PCR and antibody test (7 weeks post-exposure/3 weeks post-PEP). Both were negative. He stated that in his opinion, I am not infected.

To be honest, I value your input more. Can I regard those tests as conclusive?

Thank you.

PS - I have been making monthly donations to the Kerry campaign. Once the public financing kicks in, I will switch my donations to Concerted Effort!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

The CDC guidelines for persons with significant high-risk exposures indicate they should receive medical evaluations, including HIV-antibody tests as soon as possible after an exposure, at then at four-six weeks, 12 weeks, and six months.

You don't mention the details of your "high risk exposure," but if indeed it were "significant" (for instance, anal receptive sex with a partner confirmed to be HIV-positive or sharing needles with an HIV-positive person), you could consider the CDC's recommended testing schedule. However, the chances of your being HIV positive with a negative DNA-PCR three weeks post a full course of triple therapy (including a PI) and a negative ELISA at seven weeks post your exposure, would be nearly nonexistent. "Fatigue, headache, and dry mouth" can result form many conditions (too many cosmopolitans the night before, for instance) and are not worrisome for HIV ARS.

From the information you provide, I would tend to agree with your doctor; however, for your peace of mind, you could consider the 12-week and six-month follow-up ELISA tests.

Thank you for your willingness to support the efforts of my foundation (and the "Re-defeat" Bush Campaign!).

Stay well. (And yes, I'm quite convinced you are indeed "well!")

Dr. Bob



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