Thanks, I hope this brings hope to others
Aug 21, 2005
Dear Dr. Bob,
A few weeks ago I wrote to you because I had gone to my physician and requested an HIV test. I am a gay male, 36, who has always tested negative. You may recall, I directed my question to the forum on "HIV related fatigue and anemia" (oops!) The title of my question was "How to prepare myself for the news". I was concerned because my Western Blot came back "Indeterminate". I was tested on July 18th and went to my doctor on August 3rd to get my results. I failed to mention that the reason I had gone to the doctor in the first place was that I was not feeling well. I had been experiencing headaches and night sweats, as well as a low-grade fever. I had actually gone to the doctor because I thought I had some sort of viral infection other than HIV (or a brain tumor)and thought I might as well be tested for HIV since I had not had a test in over a year. As I said in my original correspondance, I have always tested "Negative" and try to be as "careful" as I can. Anyway, I was in shock when I was told that the results were "Indeterminate" and also quite dissapointed when she told me that the Western Blot had been done to confirm 2 positive Elisa tests. She told me that I could be "seroconverting" and that she wanted to restest me in a month. I was convinced that I was HIV positive. She didn't give me any hope and even wanted to test me for Hepatitis beause she said my liver enzymes were elevated. I came home and did some research, found this site and decided to write to you. You told me to resolve the "Indeterminate" result and I set out to do just that. I researched and found a prominent local doctor who specializes in HIV/AIDS and is affiliated with a top hospital here in New York. He looked at my results and was very helpful and sympathetic. He examined me, asked me a million questions, One of which was: "how are you coping with this?" He also commended me on getting tested regularly. He took more blood and told me that he was going to order a series of tests. His office also offered me counseling and told me to call them if I needed anything at all. Did I mention that my Primary Care Physician actually opened my lab results while I sat there? She never reviewed them prior to our appointment. When she opened them, she said: "Oh, this is something we don't like to see". The results were also sent to a Lab that my insurance doesn't cover and I received a bill for over $1,200. In addition, the urine sample was not mine, the name "Dorothy..." was written on it. Anyway, the day after I went to this wonderful and knowledgable specialist, he personally called me to tell me that my HIV test results were NEGATIVE. He was still waiting for my viral load test but basically told me that it was ok to be "guardedly optimistic". He also told me that I did not have Hepatitis and that my liver enzymes were fine and were fine in the initial tests that my Primary Care Physician did (Slightly elevated but almost in normal range). I am going to keep my follow-up with the specialist and retrieve my initial test results that were "Indeterminate". The original results do not say anything about the Elisa tests, the ones that were positive and required the Western Blot in the first place. I wonder if perhaps the original test results are not mine. Perhaps the results belong to "Dorothy" or maybe even "Auntie Em". Anyway, I am quite relieved and after convincing myself that I was HIV positive, I bought several books online to read and prepare myself for living with HIV. I will bring the books to my appointment with the specialist and ask him to give them to a patient who could use them as a guide. I will also let this serve as a poweful reminder to me that I need to get tested regularly, practice safer sex, and understand that HIV is very much with us. I also need to find a better primary care physician and make sure that Dorothy gets her urinalysis results.
Thanks Dr. Bob
Response from Dr. Frascino
I'm delighted you followed my advice to resolve the "indeterminate" Western Blot dilemma. Personally, after reading your story, I think someone should drop a house on your primary care doctor. She is one bad witch!
Thanks for taking the time to write in and share your story.
Stay well and send our best to Dorothy and Toto, too!
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