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Questions About p24 Blood Drive Results
Oct 1, 2004

Dr. Bob, I hope you don't get sick of hearing this but, you are by all rights the most glorious human being I have ever met. The simple fact that you can put up with our insane unfounded fears while dealing with this mess yourself makes me want to change my research to virology just to work with someone as incredible as you. I had about a million questions before I found your forum but just one now. I met a girl online and we had unprotected vaginal sex about 8 times in three days (We graduate engineers don't interact with a lot of girls). About a week later I developed a UTI(didn't know what it was at the time, lots of freaking out), so I called my now girlfriend and asked if she had ever been tested for STDs. "Yes all the major ones all negative about a month earlier." I'm thinking well, that's good to know, but then ask the next logical question: "why did you get tested at all?" Apparently she tried to donate blood on two separate occasions and was permanently deferred because of a twice reactive test to something about a 24. The doc. tested her right away for Hep A&B and HIV and again with all the less severe stuff a month later, so I'm guessing it was p24, but she didn't know for sure. Well, long story short I read everything I could find and experienced every symptom I read about while waiting my obligatory 13 weeks. I got my expected (by everyone but me) negative. By the way if not for your forum I think that wait may have killed me, especially when I thought it was 6 months. More praise to you Saint Bob. My question is what is the significance of her p24 test result? Why is she no longer allowed to donate blood if she's clearly negative? Do I have a similar fate to look forward to if I try to donate? Am I putting other people at risk for some weird strain of something by donating at all? Like all the other tortured souls out there I question every blister and mouth sore but just try to keep it in perspective that I'm more likely to be killed by the city bus on my walk to campus; than have a negative test result and still have HIV. But am I okay with making that assumption for other folks by donating blood? We have a blood drive coming up at the university and I'm wondering if I should participate. Isn't that how we got into the 80's blood supply mess in the first place? Regardless of your answering, I'm sending my next stipend directly to your foundation for all your outstanding work. I noticed in your profile that you were a pediactric specialist. Have you ever thought about getting back into general pediatrics, instead of dealing with us fools? I know if I ever have kids I would want them to have a doctor as wonderful as you.

Be well Dr. Bob. You know you have all our love and prayers...

Woohooing EE.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello WOO-HOOing EE,

Eight times in three days?! Wow! Computer geek engineers can be hot! Needless to say, you are not using a "microsoft" operating system, now are you?!

OK, I totally agree with your WOO-HOO-ability based on your negative results at 13 weeks.

It's a bit difficult to comment directly on your girlfriend's situation without knowing more specifics about her test results. In general terms, the screening at blood donation sites is developed to protect the blood supply. It is not designed for HIV diagnosis. As such, it may pick up some "false-positive" or questionable results. When this happens, more complete HIV screening is recommended. Your girlfriend's more complete HIV screening apparently revealed she was HIV negative. Rules regarding blood donation after a questionable result following initial screening vary somewhat from country to country. The goal is always to err on the side of protecting the blood supply, even if that means excluding some folks who are found on subsequent screening to be HIV negative.

Does this have significance for you? No. If you and your girlfriend are indeed HIV negative, you should have no problem donating blood.

Are you putting folks at risk from a weird strain? No. Absolutely not.

I do hope you are not "like all the other tortured souls out there who question every blister and mouth sore," but rather do indeed keep things in perspective. Your 13-week HIV test is negative. You are negative.

Thank you for your kind comments and your donation. Your generosity and desire to help others is warmly appreciated.

I remain a Board Certified Pediatrician and Board Certified Immunologist/Allergist. But I have no intention of returning to pediatrics. Even though I love kids, humankind's confrontation with the global AIDS pandemic is both my passion and conviction.

Thanks also for your love and prayers. They too are very much appreciated.

Now go play (safely) with your "hard drive" and at just the right moment, yell WOO-HOO!

Stay safe. Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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