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Scared and confused! Could this be a rare strain? Help!!

Jul 18, 2005

In an effort to keep this short and too the point I have experienced the following symptoms in approximately this order starting about 4 to 6 weeks after a couple exposures earlier this year. Most symptoms have lasted a few days to a few weeks with the noted exceptions.

23 April Asian provider; Deep kissing, unprotected insertive oral, protected vaginal 19 March French Canadian provider; Deep kissing, unprotected insertive oral, protected vaginal (2X)

Symptoms: Dry mouth, headache, slight rash, new skin spots, soar throat, tender lymph nodes in my neck and groin, a single oral sore on two occasions, sore feet, hip discomfort, blurry vision, short term memory loss, weight loss (~12 lbs.), abdominal cramps, dark tarry colored stools, constipation, extreme fatigue and sore muscles

Additional: - Foot pain remains and continues to worsen. Achy feeling worse in the evening. - Rapid weight loss of ~12 lbs (180 to 178) over two months regardless of eating much more than I normally eat. My weight stabilized and I have been able to regain 5 to 6 lbs. - Abdominal cramps (mostly right side) became sever, most notable after heavy meals. Dark tarry colored stools occurred about the same time and lasted about 5 days. Cramps lasted about 4 weeks and happen only occasionally now

Testing and concerns: (Referenced to 19 March) 3 1/2 weeks: HIV-1 RNA PCR (-) 5 1/2 weeks: HIV-1 RNA PCR (-) - Very concerned about the above test being only optimized for HIV-1 Subtype B 6 weeks: HIV-2 Proviral DNA PCR (-) - Very concerned about this test possibly missing other HIV-2 subtypes. OR being a false (-) due to a random 3 to 4 day delay in shipping from LabCorp San Diego to MN. I was assured all was OK. However, I am still concerned about DNA/RNA decay due to the shipping delay 7 weeks: HIV-1 Proviral DNA PCR (-) - Again, concerned about optimization for only HIV-1 Subtype B 8 weeks: HIV-1 EIA (-), HIV-2 EIA (-) - Yes. Still in window period. I know. 12 weeks: Oraquick Advance HIV-1/2 (finger stick) (-) 15 weeks: HIV-1 bDNA (RNA); <75 copies with comment Unable to calculate result since non-numeric result obtained for component test. What does this mean? 16 weeks: Oraquick Advance HIV-1/2 (finger stick) (-)

Maybe I had some minor abrasions in my genital area that were not protected from vaginal fluid? Could I have a rare strain of HIV-2? I understand it has spread to Europe and Asia? What else would cause foot pain? My feet never used to hurt like this. Same with my weight loss all of a sudden despite eating much, much more than I used to for awhile?

Mainly I am interested in knowing what holes you may see in my testing?

Please, please help!

Response from Dr. Frascino


You are interested in knowing what holes I see in your testing???? Hmmm . . . well let's see, you've had:


2. 1 HIV-2 Proviral DNA PCR

3. 1 HIV-1 Proviral DNA PCR

4. 1 HIV-1 EIA

5. 1 HIV-2 EIA

6. 2 OraQuick Advance HIV-1/2

7. 1 HIV-1 branched chain DNA

All of these tests have been negative and you've tested out to 16 weeks. So let's see what could be missing??? Hmmm . . . a partridge in a pear tree???

My advice would have been to get a single ELISA test three months after your last potential exposure, if you were worried about HIV transmission from these very low-risk situations (unprotected insertive oral and protected vaginal sex). All the rest of your tests are, in my opinion, unnecessary and excessive, as well as a waste of your time, blood and financial resources. As you can see, the results from all your tests merely corroborate what the single three-month test would have told you: you are HIV negative.

Whatever is causing your "symptoms," it's not HIV. Could you have a "rare strain of HIV-2?" No, you could not.

I don't see a hole in your testing, but rather a mountain of unnecessary waste.

My advice is to stop testing and stop chasing a disease you could not possibly have.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob

HIV Progression
future M.D. with HIV testing question

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