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I'm so worried!!! Please help me doc!

Jan 6, 2005

Doctor Franscino! Why aren't you answering my question? Please help me. BTW, you are definitely an angel of God. Without your help, many of us would be totally lost. My situation is this. I am a 25 year old male. 4 months ago, I had unprotected oral sex (on me), protected intercourse with a prostitute in Korea (remember me now?). Well, I got a rash a few days after this incident on my hips and armpit only. It may have been because of the hot muggy weather out there. 2 weeks after the incident, I came back home and I became very very tired and also had a hard time breathing (I did smoke and drink a lot while I was out there). I then had aches in my joint. Also, I started to get very itchy everywhere. I tested at 25 days and the test came back INDETERMINATE western blot. I was scared out of my mind. I stressed like crazy after that. I then tested at the 2 month mark from the stupid incident and my results came back negative on the ELISA test, therefore no western blot of course. I tested again at 3 months and the test came back negative again. The reason I kept testing was because I still had some aches, I had a hard time breathing still once in a while, my scalp was very itchy (pretty bad dandruff which still hasn't gone away even after using head and shoulder), and I was very itchy. At times I became very tired. AM I OK DOC? If I was seroconverting and I came back indeterminate on the first test (25 days), wouldn't my test have been positive on the 2nd or 3rd month I tested??? PLEASE DOC, I don't know what to do. I've learned my lesson and I will never make that mistake again. I'm trying not to worry since I tested negative at 3 months but these symptoms are not going away (dandruff, aches in the bicep area, aches in my thighs). What could possibly wrong with me doctor? I'm very lost. Your input would mean a lot. Thank you.

Response from Dr. Frascino


The reason I did not reply is that I've answered many questions very similar to yours and the answer is always the same. (Check the archives.)

Briefly, "indeterminate" test results can occur in 4% to 20% of Western Blot (WB) assays with positive bands for HIV-1 proteins. The causes of indeterminate results include:

1. Testing during the process of seroconversion (This would not be your case, as your subsequent ELISAs were negative.)

2. Late-stage HIV infection. (Definitely not your case!)

3. Cross-reacting nonspecific antibodies, as seen in collage-vascular disease, autoimmune diseases, lymphoma, liver disease, injection-drug use, multiple sclerosis, recent immunization and parity (pregnancy)

4. Infection with O strain or HIV-2

5. HIV vaccine recipients (clinical trials)

6. Technical or clerical error

That your subsequent ELISA tests were negative means that you are HIV-negative. I cannot diagnose the cause of your dandruff or muscle aches over the Internet, but I can tell you what's not causing them: it's not HIV.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob

***Dr Bob - My final attempt
How reliable is a PCR test

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