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Good conversation with Home Access!
Jan 22, 2005

Dr. Bob -

I've written you quite a few times over the past couple of months, and have even gotten some of my queries answered. I just wanted to share with you a phone call I had today...

I had three negative tests out to 13 weeks, after one low risk exposure, and should be able to woo-hoo. But some days are better than others.

I've been having a rough day today... all the what-ifs floating around in my mind, about maybe still having HIV-2, about the window period (3 months vs. 6 months depending on who you ask), about all the "symptoms" I still have... driving myself crazy. I really wasn't trusting the tests.

It occurred to me to call Home Access (my 8.5 and 13 week tests) and ask them a couple questions.

So I called and got an awesome counselor. I said I know Home Access kits are only FDA approved for HIV-1, but I'd read they were also good at detecting HIV-2 and could she comment on that. She said that was true and that the HA express kit I took should pick up all strains. Wow - how great!! (So a little info for others of you using Home Access.)

She asked if I'd waited the window period. (On HA phone line, it says they consider the window period six months.) I told her I'd waited three months, but that it had been a low-risk oral sex exposure. She said that was enough. I told her that's the first straight answer I'd gotten on it from a hotline. She said, well, no one can make promises, but there's absolutely no reason to believe otherwise. She even took issue with the CDC's "high risk" rule for six month testing. She's like, even if you have one kind of sex vs. another, it's not like that makes a difference in how long it takes the antibodies to show up! (I can see that "rule" in some circumstances, say repeated sex with known HIV positive individual just in case, but still thought her analysis was funny.)

So we talked a little about believing the results and forgiving myself on the "guilt" issues. And I said, so basically, I'm fine and I should realize that and get on with my life. She said, well, that's a pretty big "should" but that's certainly what I'd recommend!

Anyway, I know getting on with our lives is what you've been telling us worried wells all along. And it's not that I didn't believe you... I trust your judgment and knowledge so much, and I desperately wanted to move on. Just wondered so much about the limitations of this particular test. Helped a little to hear it from them.

Just wanted to share my little breakthrough. I'm going to go have a sandwich and act like I'm a normal person living a normal life again. Hopefully that'll sink in now.

Thanks you so much for your support and for always being here for us. I'd love if you posted this as maybe a little reassurance to everyone... if I am struggling with these questions, there are many others out there too.

Thanks again.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

I'm delighted you are having a sandwich and acting like a normal person living a normal life again! While you're at it, can I get a tuna melt on rye?

Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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