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neg or pos / pos or neg / test or no test / no test or test
Aug 17, 2005

Hello I have written to you a couple of times in the past - sometimes I can dissuade myself from worrying, at other times I'm not so successful...My fear of HIV really kicked in when I became pregnant last year and underwent antenatal HIV testing (I live in the UK). I became very, very scared that I had contracted the disease 7 years earlier, in a relationship where I had had unprotected sex. The test came back negative but that didn@t and hasn@t stopped me worrying ever since. Due to my anxiety, the pregnancy was fairly horrific, involving taking lots of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications, culminating in pre-eclampsia and an emergency caesarian. Part of this anxiety was due to the test and wondering whether it was accurate and part was due to a dental appointment during the pregnancy, after which I became convinced I had contracted HIV from that. Since then, numerous psychiatrists and doctors have diagnosed OCD and, whilst I'm on medication, I'm still awaiting therapy. I just feel so terrified that I have it and that I've passed it on to my beautiful little boy. I have undergone another HIV test, 9 months after the dental appointment (and now 8 years after my earlier relationship) - again, it came back negative. To calm my fears, I have begun rading The Body avidly but other forums often scare me - tonight I read a post where the doctor said that HIV would only be "highly unlikely" following an 18 month test post-exposure! How much longer do I have to wait until I can be absolutely certain that I haven't passed anything on to my baby? Other than the normal antibody test, can I have other, more accurate tests to absolutely guarantee I'm HIV free? I ask that bcause, once again, a post on this site scared me by saying that the tests are only 96& to 99% accurate...Are these statistics correct? Is there any way for me to make sure that I don't infect my baby? I've read about PCR DNA tests and although I'm not entirely sure what they involve, should I ask for one if that would give me a wholly accurate result? Please, please, please help me to live a normal life where I can cuddle and kiss my baby without this constant, terrible fear of infecting my child - I can't bear the thought of hurting him in any way and, whilst I agonise like this, I can see his babyhood slipping away without me ever enjoying it! I know that you are also an expert in paediatric care / medicine as well as HIV and so I hope your concern for babies might prompt you to answer this question...Thankyou so much for taking the time to read this - I would be so grateful for your advice. A Desperate Mum

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Desperate Mum,

Let me be brief and direct. Your two negative HIV tests (eight years after your relationship and nine months after your dental appointment) are definitive and conclusive. You are HIV negative. No further tests are warranted or necessary. HIV is not your problem.

At this point, the only thing keeping you from living a "normal life" and not enjoying your role as a new mum is your "terrible fear" and "anxiety." There is no doubt you are in desperate need of psychiatric care. Take a copy of this post and my reply to your psychiatrist and show it to him. It will help direct your therapy to confront your very real irrational fears.

Good luck, Mum. Give Junior a hug and kiss from me, O.K.?

Dr. Bob



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