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IN NEED OF ADVICE AND ANSWERS...
Mar 17, 2005

Dear Dr. Franscino,

I am taking this oppurtunity to desperately gain some advice and guidance for a problem that I have with a family member, whom I have grown to love like a "blood" brother.

I have a brother-in-law who is tearing my family apart, with what I believe, what my wife believes and what my in-laws to be unrealistic worry over HIV and his status.

My brother-in-law is gay, and loved nonetheless. He is a wonderful person and a great friend to me, for whom I don't know where else to turn.

The long and short of this request/question is that due to the recent death of a friend of his to this disease, he now believes that he is infected and going to suffer the same demise, eventhough he has tested NEGATIVE, and I know of the last test result as negative b/c I went with him to get it, as a support structure for him. And although he hasn't admitted to any sort of sexual relationship with his friend, he is convinced that he is positive b/c he has "every symptom of HIV".

The test was done at a free clinic, it was an oral test,OraSure, and he got his results on clinic paperwork, that states is was an ELISA type test with negative results.

Please Dr. Franscino, please convey to my "brother" that his results are accurate and he can believe in them, as he told me he is outside of any window periods, longer than the 3-6 month period (more like a year).

I am afraid of what he my convince himself of and how that may affect my family. I love him as if he were my brother and want to help him as best I can, but I need some guidance for where to turn him, and how he can believe in his results. I want to help him get into counseling and will be ther for him, but I think if he heard it from a true professional, he just might listen and look for help.

Thank you for your time and for what you do and if you find the time to help me, please refer to him as "K-Man" as his name is Kevin.

Thank you so much. K-Man's Bro.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello K-Man (and K-Man's Bro),

K-Man, I'm sorry to learn of the recent loss of your friend to HIV/AIDS. A period of adjustment to that loss is normal. It can include anger, fear, worry, depression and a host of other feelings.

If you are worried about possibly being infected with HIV, please note that symptoms, no matter what they are, do not equal HIV disease. In fact symptoms, even "every symptom in book," are notoriously unreliable in diagnosing HIV disease. HIV testing three months or more form your last possible exposure is the only way to determine if you have contracted the virus. Your "bro" mentioned you tested negative beyond the window period with OraSure. If this is true, your results should be considered definitive and conclusive. You are HIV negative. For additional reassurances regarding "every symptom of HIV," please read through the archives on this site. You'll find many testimonials of folks with all types of symptoms who were convinced they were HIV positive, only to learn that in fact they were not. If you cannot accept the good news of your negative HIV status, I strongly suggest you get some counseling to help you confront your irrational fears and cope with the grief of losing a close friend.

Feel better, K-Man.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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